With outdoor kindergarten, Saddle Ridge a Green Ribbon school

With outdoor kindergarten, Saddle Ridge a Green Ribbon school

May 16th, 2018 by Tyler Jett in Breaking News

Visitors enter Saddle Ridge School in Walker County, Ga., during an open house Tuesday. The two-story masonry building is about 115,000 square feet on 94-plus acres, according to Walker County Schools. The school cost about $15 million, newspaper archives show.

Photo by Angela Lewis /Times Free Press.

The U.S. Department of Education honored Saddle Ridge Elementary/Middle School today for its environmental teachings.

The department named Saddle Ridge one of 46 Green Ribbon schools across the country. The award is for schools that reduce environmental impact, promote health and teach environmental and outdoor education.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, Saddle Ridge received the honor for several of the programs it offers. This includes an outdoor kindergarten, where children can learn in the woods.

Also, teachers work on outdoor activities for students. Second graders hatch baby chicks. Sixth graders study erosion, water systems and trail developments. Seventh graders study habitats and dissect frogs, pigs, crawdads, cats and cows' eyes.

 The school also partners with the Walker County Farm Bureau, and a local resident helps with agricultural education every week. Students produce crops, which are provided to the school's kitchen, sold at fundraisers and sold to a local pizza restaurant.

The school also has a garden, where students work throughout the year.

Saddle Ridge is one of four public schools in Georgia to receive the honor, along with Charles R. Drew Charter School in Atlanta, Godley Station K-8 School in Savannah and Lanier High School in Gwinnett County. The U.S. Department of Education also honored Georgia Southern University as a Green Ribbon school.

Saddle Ridge is the second Walker County school honored in as many years. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Education named Gilbert Elementary a Green Ribbon school.