MICHIGAN – Hartley Outdoor Education Center, in partnership with the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce’s 2020 Class of Leadership Saginaw, was awarded a $16,000 CARES Grant from the Hemlock Semiconductor Community and Regional Empowerment Fund, administered by the Saginaw Community Foundation, to build an outdoor classroom pavilion and enhance current outdoor educational programs.
On average, more than 3,000 students visit Hartley each school year. The new outdoor classroom pavilion’s design will allow learners to move seamlessly between an immersive classroom and outdoor environment. The outdoor classroom pavilion has been designated to be located in an area conducive to a beautiful habitat with water access, which will enhance students’ hands-on experiential learning abilities to study local wildlife species and interact with the natural ecosystem.
Eric Rutherford, Director of Hartley Outdoor Education Center, stated, “Hemlock Semiconductor, a company known for science and technology, fully supports our vision and the importance of creating an atmosphere where our youngest learners can actively explore and engage in STEM-related projects and activities. The outdoor classroom pavilion bridges the connection between students and project-based learning, which is a dynamic approach where students actively explore real-world projects to acquire deeper knowledge and skills.” He continued, “We are incredibly excited about this opportunity as are the many schools throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region, and throughout Michigan, that rely on Hartley to provide interactive outdoor learning experiences for students first-hand. Saginaw ISD’s Board of Education, Hartley’s Board of Directors, Leadership Saginaw, and staff are deeply humbled and gracious for the support of Hemlock Semiconductor’s shared vision and contributions to Hartley.”
Hartley Outdoor Education Center's leadership team anticipates the outdoor classroom pavilion to have a tremendous positive impact on the students from schools that traditionally attend the campus on an annual basis, as well as helping attract new schools searching for unique hands-on learning opportunities that fully immerse students in outdoor education. Students who attend Hartley Outdoor Education Center programs experience fun, memorable learning opportunities while exploring nature, wildlife, natural resources, and history through virtual and in-person interactive learning. Encompassing 300 acres of natural habitat including hardwood forests, wetlands, meadows, ponds, and a creek, Hartley is home to the Coal Mine No. 8 Historical Site & Museum, Schroeder Log Cabin, Fowler One-room School, Henige Log Cabin, Murphy Farmhouse, Murphy Farm Learning Center, and a net-zero Greenhouse. Hartley is also the site of Saginaw County’s only identified nature preschool, Murphy Farm, in partnership with Saginaw ISD’s Head Start programs.
To learn more about the Hartley Outdoor Education Center, visit www.sisd.cc. To learn more about the Hartley Outdoor Pavilion, visit www.hartleyoutdoor.org.
About Saginaw Intermediate School District
Saginaw Intermediate School District (SISD) is an educational service agency that provides effective and innovative leadership, services, resources, and programs throughout Saginaw County, Michigan. Saginaw ISD serves 12 local school districts, 5 public school academies, and 22 non-public schools, with a total enrollment of approximately 27,000 students. Public school districts supported include: Birch Run Area Schools, Bridgeport-Spaulding Community School District, Carrollton Public Schools, Chesaning Union Schools, Frankenmuth School District, Freeland Community School District, Hemlock Public School District, Merrill Community Schools, Saginaw Public School District, Saginaw Township Community Schools, St. Charles Community Schools, and Swan Valley School District. Saginaw ISD provides career and technical education, early childhood, finance, human resources, instruction, pupil accounting, special education, technology, and transportation services. In addition, SISD operates multiple educational programs to meet the unique needs of students ages birth to 26 across Saginaw County, including: Hartley Outdoor Education Center, Head Start/Early Head Start and Great Start to Readiness Programs, Great Lakes Bay Early College, Saginaw County Juvenile Detention Center School, and Special Education Center Programs. Learn more about Saginaw ISD by calling (989) 399-7473 or visiting www.sisd.cc.