School Outdoor Habitats

Ohio River Foundation’s School Outdoor Habitats program is designed to provide students with the tools they need to have a tangible impact on protecting water quality in their community, and enables them to further develop math and science skills. Currently, this program is only offered in Greater Cincinnati.

Schools and teachers are increasingly looking to better utilize the space around their buildings to create outdoor classrooms. However, they lack the technical expertise to create them. ORF has expertise in leading the design and installation of a variety of outdoor habitats. These habitats vary in the technical, economic, and maintenance challenges they pose; with rain gardens posing the greatest challenges. Butterfly, native prairie grass, and vegetable gardens also provide ample learning opportunities and creation of necessary wildlife habitat with fewer design and installation challenges. By offering several different habitat choices to teachers and schools we can address their different demands and still achieve the end result of an outdoor learning classroom.  

Some examples of gardens

School Garden School garden School Garden

Working with ORF staff and their school teachers, classes are given instruction on steps for designing, constructing, and monitoring a garden. Students have certain milestones in the design and planning stages: including, measurements, layout, and specific design features.  After installation, the gardens are monitored and maintained by the students and successive year classes as outdoor learning labs. 

Started in 2009, seven gardens have since been created. Learn about their experiences HERE.

The cost for the program per school site runs from $50 to $1,000. Many variables determine the cost, including: size, type of garden, amount of ORF staff time. The first step is to send in an application and begin the conversation as to what type of garden you want for your students and school. Only a limited number of garden projects will be funded each season (fall/spring) based upon annual available funds. We hope to hear from you soon!

Click here for School Outdoor Habitats Program Application

Currently, this program is only offered in Greater Cincinnati.