Dani’s Dreams – Indiana’s Outstanding Outdoor Lab of the Year Winner

Thanks to all students, teachers, parents, Scout and everyone in the community who has had a hand in keeping Dani’s Dreams alive! The best is yet to come – be a part of it! Here is the official news release from Donna Rogler, Project Learning Tree Coordinator, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry:

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Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center in New Palestine, Indiana at Zion Lutheran School has been awarded the Outstanding Outdoor Lab of the Year for 2011 by the Indiana Tree Farm Committee.
There are numerous opportunities for hands-on exploration, engaging learning and community service through a visit and participation in the activities of Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center. Features of the outdoor lab include: the Discovery Center containing a weather station, experiment tables, shelter with tables for classroom observation, recording and discussion; a tree seedling nursery; a butterfly garden/wildflower area; an archaeological dig area; bird feeders and houses; Indiana native plants and a vegetable garden.
The Dani Griffin Innovation in Education Memorial Fund at Zion Lutheran School began in fall 2007 in celebration of 150 years of Christian education in Hancock County and in response to a need for hands-on science experiences for the 100-plus preschool through eighth grade students at Zion. Currently, the center is free and also open to all area schools and community groups.
For thirty-four years, the Indiana Tree Farm Committee has selected an outdoor lab from throughout the state to be recognized as outstanding. The criteria used by the judges to bestow this award included: having a well-balanced program that goes beyond simple awareness and identification and including consideration of soils, water, wildlife, energy and, of course, forestry, and how these resources can be managed for production, recreation, aesthetics and other benefits. The facility should be used in many different subject areas and at many different grade levels.

Zion Lutheran School will receive two solid walnut plaques, a $500.00 check from the Indiana Hardwood Lumberman’s Association (IHLA) and a letter of appreciation from Senator Richard Lugar. The first plaque will be engraved with the name of the school and the second plaque is reserved for the person who has been most responsible for guiding the outdoor lab’s development. The State award will be presented at the annual IHLA convention in February.
For more information on this, please contact Donna Rogler, Project Learning Tree Coordinator, Indiana DNR Division of Forestry, Natural Resources Education Center, 5785 Glenn Road, Indianapolis, IN, 46216 317-549-0354, drogler@dnr.in.gov

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