Bloomsburg University’s new Sustainable Food Systems Outdoor Classroom recently got its first group of visitors when several Quest adventure campers stopped for a picnic, where the youngsters enjoyed freshly cut kohlrabi sticks and freshly squeezed kale orange juice.
The outdoor classroom, one of five projects awarded a Presidential Strategic Planning Grant last year, will be a working garden and sustainability education center run primarily by student workers and interns. Located behind Monty’s on upper campus, the outdoor classroom was designed in collaboration with students who also helped build the gardens this past spring.
Currently, there are two students helping John Hintz and Sandra Kehoe-Forutan, professors of environmental, geographical and geological sciences, care for the gardens over the summer. There are 30 raised beds filled with vegetables and herbs. There will be a third student starting work in July on the perennial garden.
The completed outdoor classroom will feature walking paths between well-tended raised garden beds, interactive interpretive signage, a solar greenhouse, a composting site, a rain garden, perennial plants and birdhouses around the periphery, and a seating area and educational kiosk.
Coursework, educational workshops, internships, professional development opportunities, and volunteer opportunities at the outdoor classroom will provide high impact practices new to our university. The outdoor classroom will provide a state-of-the-art showpiece of sustainable food production that helps prepare students to be confident, knowledgeable, engaged, and productive citizens.