News

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Summer Camp 2018

Science Enrichment Summer Camp

The Outdoor Lab offers three, week-long camp sessions that provide a number of nature-related activities and experiences to Arlington Public School students who may not otherwise have such opportunities.

Campers sleep outdoors in tents and are provided three meals and snacks every day. Activities include nature hikes, survival skills, night walks, games, skits, arts and crafts, animal exploration, boating, fish, and much more.

Sessions for 2018

  • Session A- Elementary School  (for students entering 5th or 6th): June 25 to June 29
  • Session B- Middle School  (for students entering 6th, 7th or 8th):  July  9  to July 13
  • Session C- Elementary School:  (for students entering 5th or 6th): July 23 to July 27
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Fall Open House- Sunday October 21st 12-4pm

The Outdoor Lab Open House is scheduled for Sunday October 21st 12-4pm.

Enjoy nature with your family as you hike the trails, try fishing in the pond, paddle a canoe, or visit with the animals in the Lab. We’ll have a cookout with hot dogs and smores or you can bring a picnic to enjoy. It’s fun for all ages and free for Arlington Families and friends.

While at the lab, talk to AOEA board members about the upcoming capital projects or how you could volunteer. We’re looking for additional board members and have lots of great projects on our plate!

Consider carpooling with neighbors or friends to reduce your carbon footprint. Directions can be found here and parking info will be posted closer to the event.

In case of inclement weather, check back here for cancellations or updates.  An Open House Rain Date has been tentatively scheduled for Sunday November 4th.

We look forward to seeing you!

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Spring Open House Highlights

Thanks to all who came out for the Outdoor Lab Spring Open House!  We welcomed Arlington Families, Neighbors and Friends.

We held our annual meeting and welcomed State Senator Barbara Favola who presented the Outdoor Lab with recognition by the General Assembly with SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 262 which read in part

  • “That the General Assembly hereby commend Arlington Outdoor Lab for offering unique educational opportunities to young Virginians on the occasion of its 50th anniversary.”
The AOEA would like to thank the General Assembly,  Senator Favola and Senator Howell and Delagates Hope, Levine, Lopez and Sullivan for their on-going support.

The Annual Meeting continued with the election of  the proposed slate of Board Members.

The group then adjourned outside as we thanked retiring director Neil Heinekamp for his 25 years of service to the lab with the unveiling of a tree planted in his honor and the results of a fund raiser to create a young birders library to cntinue his love of birds for generations to come.

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Spring Open House- Saturday June 16th 1-5pm

Open House has been Rained Out, rescheduled for Saturday June 16th 1-5pm.

Enjoy nature with your family as you hike the trails, try fishing in the pond, paddle a canoe, or visit with the animals in the Lab. We’ll have a cookout with hot dogs and smores or you can bring a picnic to enjoy. It’s fun for all ages and free for Arlington Families and friends.

While at the lab, talk to AOEA board members about the upcoming capital projects or how you could volunteer. We’re looking for additional board members and have lots of great projects on our plate!

Consider carpooling with neighbors or friends to reduce your carbon footprint. Directions can be found here and parking info will be posted closer to the event. In case of inclement weather, check back here for cancellations or updates.

We look forward to seeing you!

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VA Sec of Education @ Outdoor Lab!

As part of his 2018 Commonwealth Listening TourSecretary of Education,  Atif Qarni, visited the Outdoor Lab as Patrick Henry Elementary’s 5th graders started their overnight field trip.  Secretary Qarni’s mission is two-fold: celebrate all of the great work that’s being done for learners around the Commonwealth, and get a firsthand experience with the challenges and needs across Virginia.

The Secretary was met by Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy and APS Science Supervisor Dr. Dat Le and the Staff of the Outdoor Lab.  Discussions about the opearation of the lab, its challenges and its benefits for Arlington students were had as the group toured the Outdoor Lab facilities.  The visit was set-up by Chidi Uche, Special Assistant to the Secretary, and former Jamestown Elementary teacher.

The  Secretary welcomed the 5th graders and teachers from Patrick Henry (including a group selfie) and participated in their hands-on, science activities.

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Wind Storm Update

The Outdoor Lab has been hit hard by the wind storms blowing down trees and knocking out power to all buildings at the lab.

Please check with your school’s coordinating Teacher for trips to the Lab for week of March 5th.  Some trips will be cancelled.

The Lab Staff, AOEA Board, APS staff and various contractors are working hard to get power restored and the Lab back in safe operating condition.

Power to the Outdoor Lab was restored Monday afternoon by NOVEC and its contractors from Charlotte, NC!

Some repairs, especially to Animal Lab will take longer to complete, but deck and porch have been safely blocked off from student access so programs can continue.   A vintage canoe and lawn tractor were also damaged.

Check out pictures below:

        

 

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Open House RESCHEDULED- Saturday June 16th 1-5pm

Open House has been Rained Out, rescheduled for Saturday June 16th 1-5pm.

Enjoy nature with your family as you hike the trails, try fishing in the pond, paddle a canoe, or visit with the animals in the Lab.  We’ll have a cookout with hot dogs and smores or you can bring a picnic to enjoy.  It’s fun for all ages and free for Arlington Families and friends.

While at the lab, talk to AOEA board members about the upcoming capital projects or how you could volunteer.  We’re looking for additional board members and have lots of great projects on our plate!

Consider carpooling with neighbors or friends to reduce your carbon footprint.  Directions can be found here and parking info will be posted closer to the event.  In case of inclement weather, check back here for cancellations or updates.

We look forward to seeing you!

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Lab Notes- October 2018

 

Mike & Pam Nardolilli
(Farewell Salamander Cake by Martine McNabola)

President’s Letter – 

Mike – “Thank you for your service”!

After 17 years on the Board of Directors for the Arlington Outdoor Education Association (AOEA) 14 as President-Mike Nardolilli has “retired.”  Mike’s stewardship of the Lab during this period has been profound and long lasting.  His many accomplishments include:
* Negotiation and execution of a Memorandum of Understanding with Arlington Public Schools (APS) (Instead of an annual $1 rent payment – the MOU began with a formula of essentially $10 for each APS student visiting the lab – approximately 9,000 annually).
* Purchase of an additional 36 acres of land adjacent to the Lab.
* Repairs to the pond/dam, Striker Cottage, boat dock and fishing platform, new entrance to the Lab with safer bus passage, two tiny houses for staff overnight accommodations, and the replacement of the animal Lab with a $750,000 LEED-certified building.
* Increase in an additional APS staff member at the Lab.
* Partnership with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) to perform trail work at the Lab.
* Raised over $100,000 during 50th Anniversary celebrations that will be used for other capital programs at the Lab including land acquisitions and the replacement of the Striker Cottage.
During the June AOEA Board meeting, Todd Parker, was elected President, Mike Maleski Vice-President, Claire Hardie Treasurer and Mary Ann Penning as Secretary.  We all appreciate the dedication and hard work that Mike and his family provided to the AOEA and the Outdoor Lab over the last 17 years.  We will continue to build on the solid foundation that he has developed.
Todd Parker, President AOEA

fishing pier

Fall Open House
Friends and families, come out to the Lab for our Fall 2017 Community Open House.  It is scheduled for Sunday, Oct 29, 12-4 pm. In addition to activities on the pond, we’ll have fishing, a cookout, hiking and the animal lab.  Check our web site (Outdoorlab.org) in case in inclement weather.
Hope to see you there!

Hail

Jessica Leslie
Our new staff member is long time Outdoor Lab volunteer, Jessica Leslie (Ms. Bat).  She has a long connection to the Lab as a parent and now as a staff member!
Farewell
Clare
Clare McLean
This Summer we said “good bye” to Clare McLean (Mrs. Fox), an Outdoor Lab staff member since 2010.  She accepted a new position at Abington Elementary school. We wish her the best in the future and hope she will still occasionally visit the Lab.
Learning at the Outdoor Lab!
By Christine Payack (Miss Turtle)
Look! A long sinewy millipede crawls under decaying bark.
Feel! Soft caterpillars and slimy slugs undulate across our hands.
Listen! Nocturnal owls call while the stream gurgles in the darkness.
Sniff! The smell of moist leaves drifts through the air.
These are some of the learning moments that take hold of our senses at the Outdoor Lab –a place protected and far removed from urban encroachment. In this living classroom, we “explore, wonder and learn” and develop a deep love and respect for the natural world.
How can this jewel of nature be best investigated as an extension of the Arlington Public Schools’ science curriculum? How can the Outdoor Lab best support each school community as partners in learning?
With teacher input and advice, we are developing new lessons to tap into all that the Lab has to offer. By identifying key life science concepts that vertically integrate and spiral through the grades, our comprehensive and fluid activity choices will meet the needs of teachers and their students during the school year.
The Animal Lab is being transformed into a microcosm of our diverse 225-acre facility. It is here that students investigate the natural world through the lens of the indigenous animal ambassadors who reside there. Through their stories, the animals teach us all about the species that interact and depend on each other in their food webs, habitats and communities beyond the Animal Lab‘s doors.
Outside, students continue to explore the natural world through active and hands-on learning and observation. As scientific thinkers, they ask questions, build knowledge and expand on science principles, such as change, cycles, patterns and relationships in the living world.
What are some of the essential questions and themes that cycle through the seasons?
“What is an ecosystem?”
“How does energy flow through a food chain?”
“How do organisms depend on each other in their habitats and communities?”
“What are the roles of producers, consumers and decomposers in their environments?”
“What are the life cycles of living organisms?”
“How do specific adaptations and traits allow an organism to survive in its environment?”
“Why and how do scientists classify organisms into different categories?”
“What is the human impact on the natural world?”
“How can we positively impact the survival of the living world around us today and in the future?”
Come join us any day to investigate these questions while you . . .
Look, touch, smell and hear!
Explore, wonder and learn!
And protect the best classroom of all –the one that is outdoors!
THANK YOU FOR YOUR DONATIONS!
 
Williamsburg Middle School PTA
Long Branch Elementary School PTA
Discovery Elementary School
Jamestown 5th Grade Gift
Oakridge Elementary School PTA
Arlington Traditional School PTA
Tuckahoe-Glebe Basketball Game
Arlington Retired Teacher’s Association
 
An important part of AOEA contributions come from schools and individual donations.  Donations can be made through “1st day packets” and on line (see below).  We also get “special” contributions – last year the Jamestown 5th grade class gave the Outdoor Lab support that was used to purchase new tents and life preservers.  For the past two years Tuckahoe elementary school has held a basketball fundraiser – this year it was against Glebe school – the Outdoor Lab was the biggest winner receiving over $3,900!   Big or small all donations are appreciated and show how passionate our supporters are!
AOEA BOARD MEMBERS
 
Are you passionate about outdoor education?  Want to help preserve the Outdoor Lab for the next 50 years?  Consider joining us as a member of the AOEA Board.  We are interested in attracting Board members with a variety of talents – social media, communications, IT/data base management, fund raising/grant management, volunteer coordination, and APS liasion.  Contact us through the e-mail (link below).
 
President:          Todd Parker
Vice President:  Mike Maleski
Treasurer:          Claire Hardie
Secretary:          Mary Ann Penning
Committee Chairpersons
Facilities & Maint.:    Bob Schrider
Fundraising:             Ron Oleynik
Outreach:                 Carol Goodloe
Other Board Members:
Paul Diehl,  Felix Herrera, Sarah Jensen,
Scott Kovarovics, Anita Scott
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Winter 2018

We’re off to a cold but wonderful start to the new year!

Classes from Arlington Public Schools 3rd and 7th grades are taking the bus out to the lab daily to experience first hand the wonders of nature in winter.  Checkout our Facebook page to see some of their winter discoveries.