Plans for a Nature Explore Classroom at Bong State Recreational Area call for several different activity areas located along a path at the state park.

Officials at Bong to break ground on outdoor classroom

By Dan Truttschel


It’s been 10 years in the making, but staff and volunteers with the Richard Bong State Recreation Area can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel.

And next week, they’ll see shovels go into dirt.

The groundbreaking for an outdoor Nature Explore Classroom – the first of its kind in the state – will be held Saturday, April 14, from 10 to 11 a.m.

Official construction for the project, which will include 11

“classroom” areas for people of all ages, abilities and sensitivities, should begin by May with a targeted opening date in the fall, according to Naturalist Beth Goeppinger.

It’s definitely an exciting time to see this long process heading toward the finish line, she said.

“It’s going to be amazing,” Goeppinger said. “It’s going to be beautiful, too. There will be all natural plants, green spaces and little areas where kids can hang out and just (enjoy) unstructured free play. It’s just so good for them. The parents are going to love it, too.”

Once completed, there will be something for everyone in the 1-acre layout – areas will be dedicated to movement and music, open play, dirt and sand digging, building, gardening, messy materials, climbing and crawling, water exploration and nature art.

While there will be some scheduled programming led by staff members, most of the areas will allow for kids and families to just freely explore in nature, Goeppinger said – and children with special needs such as autism or ADHD will also find plenty to do as well.

To read the full story pick up a copy of the April 5 edition of the Burlington Standard Press.