Willow Bend is excited to join the city’s Community Design and Redevelopment Department as they announce the completion and dedication of the Outdoor Classroom at Frances Short Pond. The classroom is located next to the Veit cabin and both will be used for environmental education.
Willow Bend has been leading field trips for k-12 graders to the Pond for over 30 years. We were excited to initiate the outdoor classroom idea, and partner on it’s design and implementation. The classroom’s natural setting will help us deliver programs about the Rio de Flag riparian corridor as well as local flora and fauna.
Included by the city’s Beautification and Public Art Commission as one of several planned amenities to be installed in the park, the classroom’s amphitheater style seating and podium are oriented to take advantage of views to the Peaks. The classroom is constructed from local malpais boulders and planted with native grasses to revegetate the areas disturbed by construction. Sustainability is promoted through the use of locally sourced building materials which contain only small amounts of embedded energy.
The completion of the classroom continues the work begun almost 50 years ago by Jim David and others, to preserve the pond’s natural history and ensure its availability as open space. Over the years, students have used the pond as an outdoor laboratory, developing and learning from dozens of environmental education projects and experiments in and around the pond including creating an archaeological dig near the pond, planting cottonwoods, willows, and junipers near its banks, and creating the island habitat in the middle of the pond.
This BBB funded project was designed by the city’s Community Design and Redevelopment staff and built by volunteers from the Flagstaff Rotary Club, with assistance from the city’s Parks Department and Willow Bend.
The outdoor classroom is free and open to the public on a first come first-served basis.
Dedication of the Classroom including short speeches, light refreshments, and a tour of the cabin and the Pond is set for noon, October 17, 2017,