Alexander, New York



(Click above to see where we started...how we have grown...and where we are now!)
(Click above to see lesson plans that can be used in the Outdoor Classroom)

Email Mrs. Reding at

or contact the Outdoor Classroom Committee at

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Our work is never complete

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The outdoor classroom is in full bloom!

The Latest News

Outdoor Classroom Featured
in New Book

Nicole Kelly, a parent in our district and a member of the Alexander Outdoor Classroom Committee, collaborated with Connie Herman, creator of the series 60 Fun Things to Do Within 60 Miles of . . .  to write the book 60 Great Places to go With Kids Within 60 Miles of Buffalo.  One of the great places mentioned in the book is our very own outdoor classroom!  Listed under the category, “Outdoors and Nature,” our space is billed as a “community gem.”

“. . . this place is a wonderful extra for the school and community that entices young and old to live and learn and nature.”  From spaces to gather and build to spaces for climbing and performing, it’s a place where students and the community can come to create, discover and explore outside.”


New Additions

As an Eagle Scout project, Jon Tyx built and installed two open storage units and three “Little Reference Libraries.”  The storage units will hold natural materials to be used for building and creating.  The little libraries will house reference materials to be used by teachers and students as they work and study in the outdoor classroom.

Site of New Pavilion                                                                                          
Thanks to the National Honor Society and the PTA the outdoor classroom will soon have a pavilion.  This structure will give teachers a place to conduct lessons even in inclement weather.  The pavilion will also be a great spot to enjoy an outdoor meal.   The honor society donated money they raised at their annual BBQ's for this project.  The PTA generously offered to add the funds needed to purchase materials so the pavilion could be completed for use in the upcoming school year.  We would like to thank Rusty Breton for his assistance with project.



A New Look
    Congratulations are in order for sophomore Jayna Wright. Her design was chosen as the new logo for the Alexander Outdoor Classroom. Thank you Jayna!

Fun in the Snow!!!
   The winter weather has not stopped our students from enjoying our classroom! Take a look...



Meet Our Project Coordinator

        The Batavia Daily News just featured an article detailing the success of Sheila
Hess and her company, Conservation Connects. Sheila is the project coordinator of our Outdoor Classroom. Her resources and expertise have been undeniable to our project, and we are grateful for her participation. Take a look at the article here

UPDATE: 1/14/13 - Yet another article on Sheila and her various projects. 


The Alexander Outdoor Classroom celebrated its first birthday on October 19th, and it was a blast!!!


Dozens of community members, staff, and students volunteered their time to celebrate and tend to our wonderful classroom. Amid cake eating and laughter, plenty of gardening, racking, and overall maintenence was done to keep our classroom looking great!
Our elementary students put their creative minds to work and made birthday cards to celebrate the occassion. While our middle/high school students designed potential logos to represent the classroom. Keep checking back here to see the completed design.  



Alexander Faculty and Staff consumed the Outdoor Classroom today, as the DEC presented two workshops  regarding our natural environment.



    It's Official!
    Our Outdoor Classroom has earned national certification as a Nature Explore Classroom from Dimensions Educational Research Foundation and the Arbor Day Foundation. Making it the first such classroom in Western New York!
 “Alexander Central has shown tremendous
leadership in growing the next generation of environmental stewards,” said Susie Wirth, Nature Explore Outreach Director. “Their commitment to providing research-based and nature-rich learning offers a wonderful example to educators throughout the country.”
    A great achievement to start a new school year! 
    Of course, our thanks goes out to the Alexander community and the many volunteers who helped make this accomplishment possibe.
A Picnic to Remember!
    Parents, students, and community members packed their way into the Outdoor Classroom on May 31st to enjoy an evening picnic. The night could not have gone better! The weather was spectacular and there was plenty of fun to go around. 

    Special thanks goes out to Clor's Meat Market who cooked up an excellent chicken barbecue. Mrs. Holderer and her family for providing the wonderful musical entertainment. As well as, Trooper Szymkowiak for presenting the importance of bicycle safety. 

    One final big thanks to the many volunteers who gave their time and helped make this event such a big success! 

Plus we made the news again....




     Click on the image above for a larger slide show

Click on the image for a larger view of the concept plan

Why is outdoor play so important for children?
Click HERE for an article.

Read About the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony from The Batavian

The Daily News story about the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Meet Our Project Coordinator

Sheila Hess is the project coordinator of our Outdoor Classroom. 

Sheila HessFounder Sheila HessPrincipal Ecologist/CEO

Sheila is the founder of CC Environment & Planning, she has an established presence in the environmental field as an innovative planner and problem solver with an expertise in natural resource assessments, watershed and aquatic resource-related issues. Sheila worked with a non-profit conservation organization for twelve years, focusing on landscape-level planning and restoration of wetland systems in eighteen states across the Great Lakes and Atlantic Region. She has coordinated several watershed-based planning efforts and has worked extensively with conservation organizations, watershed groups, and regulatory staff to develop wetland avoidance, minimization, and compensation strategies for individuals, agencies, and corporations. Sheila’s present focus includes integrating ecology and conservation in land development designs and working with local and regional organizations to develop sustainable land use plans and programs.


  • New York Green – Executive Director
  • Society of Wetland Scientists
  • New York State Wetlands Forum
  • Friends of Iroquois NWR
  • WNY Land Conservancy
  • Association of State Wetland Managers
  • The National Mitigation Banking Association

Sheila's resources and expertise have been undeniable to our project, and we are grateful for her participation.

Mrs. Jinks:
Our Mastermind & LifeChanger

Our entire outdoor classroom project is the brain child of our preschool teacher, Ellie Jinks. Her vision of this project continually inspires us.  Please take the time to view the powerpoint presentation on the left side of this page..  It explains why Mrs.Jinks wanted to pursue the project and how the community made it happen.

In 2014 Mrs. Jinks was nominated as "LifeChanger of the Year", because of her work to establish this outdoor learning space for Alexander .  The "LifeChanger" program is sponsored by National Life Group and annually recognizes outstanding educators who make a positive difference in the lives of students. Click on the link below to view Ellie's nomination.

Members of the Outdoor Classroom Committee:

Mrs. Maerten , School Superintendent
Mrs. Jinks, UPK Teacher and Grant Recipient
Mr. Forgnone, Technology Teacher
Mrs. Pfalzer, Elementary Teacher
Mr. Stroud, Elementary Principal
Mrs. Reding, Elementary Reading Specialist
Mrs. Busch, Assistant Elementary Principal
Mrs. Howard, School Psychologist
Mrs. Mullin, Physical Therapist
Mrs. Hess, Parent/Community Member
Mrs. Kelly, Parent/Community Member