Norwood Elementary School is one of Edmonton’s Inner City Schools, located on 95th Street and 111 Avenue. It’s a beautiful school, built in 1908, making it over 100 years old with architectural features that are unique in Edmonton. Another special feature that adds to this school’s charm is the naturalized front schoolyard and community garden. The school’s Grounds Renewal Project started in 2010 and is an ongoing project. It has created an environment for outdoor learning, play and stewardship. More than just a means to make the school more attractive, the Renewal Project has become an integral part of the school and community. Teachers, students, parents and other members of the community have played a part and gotten their hands dirty to make the project a reality. Also, the design of the School yard purposefully invites community members in to enjoy and share the grounds. Some examples of this are plans for a biking and hiking trail, as well as, a medicine wheel that ties into aboriginal culture. In addition to working with the community, the project has encouraged teachers and students to work with nature to solve problems and create a healthier space for play and learning. Trees were also put up along fence lines to decrease noise pollution as well as prevent soccer balls from going over the fence. Norwood’s naturalized school yard not only adds to the inner city’s biodiversity, it will provide a place for students to enjoy and learn about nature. This opportunity will help students appreciate and love the outdoors, which is important if they are expected to protect it.
Erin Bosker, Edmonton Master Naturalist 2015