Tippecanoe School Corporation
Learning in the Wild
Mike Pinto

James Cole Elementary students are fortunate to have a three-acre outdoor education center located in its backyard. This outdoor education center features a one-acre pond, a wetland with two docks, a shelter house, an outdoor classroom space, a windmill, a bat house, and many other educational gardens. The Cole Staff has created a K-5 curriculum aligned to the Indiana State Standards with specific grade level focuses. Pond Days are held periodically throughout the year with assistance from Kris Ziller, Chairwoman of the Board of Keep Stockwell Beautiful, a local affiliate of Keep America Beautiful which ranks as one of the smallest affiliates in the world. Students learn a variety of lessons with the goal that each child can identify both milkweed and poison ivy before leaving the school after fifth grade. Students also have the opportunity to fish along the banks of the pond with a supply of fishing poles available to the school. Children catch blue gill, crappie, catfish, and an occasional large mouth bass. The Cole Outdoor Education Center is a learning environment that encourages hands-on learning and also builds wonderful memories.