Gravatt just got word we will receive a grant from the United Thank Offering for the development of three outdoor learning centers that will support environmental education and the ministry of hosting retreats. The grant funds three intentional outdoor learning centers to be used by field trip students, summer campers, and retreat guests for immersion, study and reflection in nature. The outdoor learning centers will include a covered treehouse with a composting toilet and outdoor classroom, an outdoor farm classroom with storage shed, and a lakeside outdoor classroom with a labyrinth. The grant also funds equipment to assist in the maintenance of these areas and the development and maintenance of trails.
School groups visiting Gravatt for environmental and outdoor education will be primary users of the outdoor learning centers during the school year. Gravatt’s environmental and outdoor education is being re-imagined and revitalized to provide field trips that meet curriculum standards related to science, math, language arts, and health. For private Christian schools, the program includes a bridge between academic content and the theological implications. With the newly written program and new outdoor learning facilities, we anticipate significant program growth.
These spaces will also be utilized during summer camp. Environmental education is an integral part of our Christian formation program at camp, growing in campers a sense of wonder, delight, and responsibility for God's creation.
In addition, these spaces will allow other groups opportunity for spiritual exploration of the connection between creation and the creator. These intentional spaces will provide new opportunities for guests to experience the bounty of the earth in meaningful ways. We also see possibilities for additional adult education.
It is our goal that as a result of their experiences at Gravatt’s new learning centers, whether through summer camp, school, or church, guests and campers will know and respond to their roles as caretakers of the earth, and we are incredibly grateful for the support of the UTO in this goal.