Discovery Hill’s Open House Cancelled

It is always hard making this decision, but the Open House at the Discover Hill Learning Center this Saturday is cancelled as we expect heavy rains. It will likely be too messy to explore the habitat.

On the bright side, yay for rain! We hope to reschedule another Open House in the spring.

Stay tuned for other opportunities and updates!

The School Year is Here and Discovery Hill is Ready!

Discover Hill - flowers and a bench

What a peaceful place to enjoy nature.The native plants we planted at the Discovery Hill Learning Center last spring are really filling in and look beautiful–just in time for school!

Schoolyard habitat sign at Discovery Hill

Hundreds of schoolchildren will be using the outdoor classroom this year to learn their regular curriculum by observing nature. Hands-on learning and student-led investigation can lead to academic improvement and higher standardized test scores in reading, mathematics, science and problem solving. Plus it is fun! What a great way to learn.

schoolchildren writing notes of their field investigation

Curious about the plants pictured above or adapting the curriculum for outdoor learning? You can have your questions answered at the Open House on September 21st.

Open House at Discovery Hill Learning Center

Blog Update: Due to what looks like the chances of a grand soaking over the next 24 hours or so, we are cancelling the Discovery Hill Open House tomorrow in Austin.

Save the Date - Discovery Hill Open House, September 21

Join us on September 21st at the new demonstration schoolyard habitat in Central Texas! National Wildlife Federation and Austin ISD invites the community to attend the free Open House at Discovery Hill Learning Center.

Tour this beautiful habitat and:

  • Learn about AISD’s curriculum and instructional goals for the habitat.
  • Learn first-hand how the habitat was built from conception to installation.
  • Learn about the ecological value of the habitat.
  • Experience the vast array of native plants and the wildlife that is already visiting the habitat.

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WHAT: Discovery Hill Learning Center (aka Rocks to Roots) Open House

WHEN: Saturday, September 21, 2013, 9:00am – noon

WHERE: AISD Science and Health Resource Center (SHRC)
305 North Bluff Drive
Austin, TX 78745 [map]

RSVP Online
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The morning will start with a short presentation from Austin ISD Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Pauline Dow, followed by an opportunity to tour the garden with designer, Judy Walther, from Environmental Survey Consulting. We hope you can join us!

Getting Kids Outdoors and Connecting with Nature

National Wildlife Federation has worked for decades to connect children and youth with nature, inspiring children through Ranger Rick magazine, working with educators to get kids learning outdoors through projects such as the new Discovery Hill habitat (a.k.a Rocks to Roots), and helping parents find new ways to engage their children outside. That’s why we loved this article for educators, “YOU CAN GET YOUR STUDENTS OUTSIDE — and Still Meet Your State Standards” recently posted on the Children & Nature Network.

The author provides cheap tips for educators (and parents) to help connect children with nature while increasing student’s achievement levels and decreasing behavior issues:

Is There a Window in Your Classroom?

If the answer is yes, you have an opportunity to invite the rich world of birding into your student’s lives. Once birds “find” the food source, you will have an inspiring way to discuss the changing seasons, patterns of migration, habitat, and the list will grow as your students find ways to use this fascinating new science tool to explore and understand their world.

The ideas in the article are easy to do and, in some cases, completely free.

You can also join NWF’s Be Out There campaign on Facebook to learn about other fun ideas! You will get family-friendly tips to motivate your family to spend time outdoors all year round. If you are having troubles getting your older kids to unplug, this insightful Forbes article may help.

Good luck with your first day of school and stay tuned for more information about Discovery Hill, Austin’s first demonstration schoolyard habitat!