Novi schools get $400K for gardens, greenhouses and more outdoor learning

In Novi, the school district is getting some generous help with outdoor education. On the first day of October, children and adults alike enjoyed the ribbon-cutting for a new “Hammock Garden” at Novi Woods Elementary.

The $2,000 gift from DTE and installed by the utility allows students to enjoy reading in comfort in about two dozen hammocks anchored under the trees “as birds chirp and bees buzz and the wind blows,” as described by fourth-grader Bella Kharsa. Soon, students district-wide will be celebrating even more outdoor education, thanks to a one-time $400,000 Michigan Enhancement Grant approved last week as part of the state budget.

Assistant Superintendent of Academic Services RJ Webber said he was blown away by the size and scope of the grant which was secured by state Rep. Kelly Breen. The funds will be used to transform outdoor gardens and replace greenhouses at each of the district’s elementary schools and create a new outdoor learning space at Novi Middle School.

The funds can also be used for wildlife cameras, solar panels, and more, he continued, and will bring many opportunities for high school engineering students who can help create high-quality greenhouses for younger students to enjoy. The community will also benefit, as crops grown in the greenhouses and gardens are donated to Feed the Need.

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