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The Gift of Outdoor Education

Elizabeth Coleman reading to K in Forest Hill Park

The year 2020 was a year full of challenges, and through the challenges, I have found my greatest refuge in the outdoors. As Outdoor Education director, I have also been fortunate enough to spend time with students in all nine grades in the outdoor spaces afforded to us in the Forest Hill neighborhood. Having access to the nearby James River Park System, Forest Hill Park, Wayside Spring, and Owl Orchard Community Garden has been the greatest gift I could imagine our students could receive this year. The Outdoor Education Program has provided our children joyful and engaging experiences that foster curiosity about the natural world. Rather than feeling locked down, students have explored trails, observed wildlife, conversed with trees, and discovered the gifts of peace and freedom bestowed by the outdoors. While I look forward to the year ahead, I can’t help but feel thankful for the opportunity we have had to thrive in our outdoor spaces. For all of us, particularly our young children, the curiosity and connection sparked by outdoor learning has been a much-needed antidote to the stress of 2020.  

I invite you to learn more about our Outdoor Education Program at

Elizabeth Coleman
Director of Outdoor Education