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Charlottesville students building outdoor trails and activity spaces

Students at Johnson Elementary get their hands dirty helping build trails and learning outside.
Students at Johnson Elementary get their hands dirty helping build trails and learning outside.(WVIR)
Published: May. 27, 2021 at 6:14 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Some Charlottesville students are working together to build a new kind of outdoor playground.

“This is so cool,” Annika Braunwahlin said.

In the woods behind Johnson Elementary School, students like Annika and her friends are getting their hands dirty.

“We line all the paths and clearings with branches so it’s more organized,” she said.

“We’re making trails and making small classes, outdoor classes, so people feel safe outside,” Bilal Abbikadir said.

Rick Harden, a volunteer and former parent with the school, came up with the idea. He says the project was expected to not be completed until later in the summer.

“Kids need a space where they can just dig in the dirt and discover, and just explore,” Harden said.

He and Minou Beling, a long-time parent at the school, say it’s a learning experience student missed during the coronavirus pandemic.

“A lot of education happens through play, and there’s no better play than being outside and exploring and seeing new things and investigating,” Beling said.

“This been a really cool experience,” Annika said.

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