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Planning Your Outdoor Classroom
Planning Your Outdoor Classroom

​Advice and Guidance​

Students working on creating the habitat garden at the Dennison Montessori School. Photo © CPW.So, you’ve decided you want to apply for a Outdoor Classrooms Grant, but have no idea where to start. The following are great resources to get you motivated and give you confidence as you help your students plan a project.

National Wildlife Federation—The perfect starting place. The National Wildlife Federation provides excellent resources to help you learn about schoolyard habitats, spark ideas to create a certified schoolyard habitat, as well as provide lesson plan ideas for you to use with your students.

Evergreen - This Canadian organization has an abundance of school ground greening resources for teachers, including planning and design information, lesson plans, maintenance tips, case studies and much more. Don't start from scratch - let Evergreen help!

Boston Schoolyard Initiative - Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) recommends the planning resources from the Boston Schoolyard Initiative for GOCO's School Play Yard Initiative. Check out before and after photos for inspiration, and get started by downloading pages from BSI's outdoor classroom Planning and Design Workbooks.

The Habitat Gardner - Get acquainted with the native plants of Colorado’s Front Range and the costs to purchase them so you can create a reasonable budget based on your needs. The Habitat Gardener website is worth a visit when planning a garden project.

The Acorn Naturalists Planning Guide for Habitat Enhancement on School Grounds will help you involve your students with the planning, implementation, and maintenance of your project through expanding upon activities developed by Project WILD.

What Teachers Say About Schoolyard Habitat Grants

"Receiving the Schoolyard Habitat Grant brought attention to our school garden among people in our community. After the parents learned of our project, many helped out byStudents working on creating the habitat garden at the Dennison Montessori School. Photo © CPW.donating three brand new picnic tables and forming a garden club to get planting done." - Big Thompson Elementary teacher

"Some of the accomplishments so far include adding beauty to our school by transforming a vast, dead area, to a lovely, welcoming environment. This project gave our community an opportunity to work together, building connections between parents, children, and the teachers who participated."- Horizons K-8 School teacher

"The Schoolyard Habitat Grant project was easy to implement, with plenty of community support and will provide an outdoor classroom for years to come!" - Las Animas Middle School teacher

"This grant allowed students to become directly involved with planning, planting, and maintaining an ecosystem. This allowed students to do direct observations vs. indirect textbook study." - Iron Horse Elementary School teacher

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Colorado Parks and Wildlife is the state agency responsible for protecting and managing wildlife and its habitat, as well as providing wildlife-related recreation. CPW is funded by hunting and fishing license fees, federal grants, and Colorado Lottery proceeds through Great Outdoors Colorado.