SMWC receives grant to enhance outdoor classroom

August 18th, 2011 | SMWC

The outdoor classroom under construction.

As society faces increasing environmental challenges, it is more important than ever to prepare students for lives and careers that demand a thorough understanding of mankind’s impact on the planet. At Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC), students discover imaginative and effective ways to rebuild humanity’s relationship with the environment. Now SMWC offers an improved way to enhance these discoveries and share them with the community.

Through a grant from the Wabash Valley Community Foundation, SMWC will expand the educational capabilities of its outdoor classroom. The funding provides for the addition of a shelter to strengthen the College’s focus on sustainability, one of the fastest growing educational areas. Completion is scheduled for mid-August.

Building on the College’s long tradition of environmental responsibility, SMWC’s environmental education initiatives are broadly integrated across many disciplines, though teacher education and with outreach in the local community. The shelter will provide a space for environmental activities for college classes, the community and hundreds of students in the Vigo County School Corporation and across Wabash Valley.

“There is a growing urgency to understand our planet, as our environment and to convey that understanding to our students,” said Theresa Boland, SP, assistant professor of education.

“We are grateful to the Foundation for this partnership to help enrich our campus community and the Wabash Valley.” 

This addition will build upon the success of the current outdoor classroom, which consists of raised garden beds, a circular garden, and a weather station surrounded by perennials and native plants that provide a butterfly habitat. 

For more information about the outdoor classroom, contact Theresa Boland, SP, assistant professor of education at (812) 535-5112 or via email at tboland(at)

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