February 2014
Youth Matters

PALS: Connecting to Earth

  Students at Rucker Boulevard Elementary School in Enterprise partner together with PALS. The students enjoyed the Giving to the Earth program presented by Mary Stanford, far right. The school won the second place PALS State Award and a $750 scholarship.

Rucker Boulevard Elementary Outdoor Classroom Encourages Respect for Environment and Community

Rucker Boulevard Elementary School in Enterprise is excited about their Outdoor Classroom.

Sheree Hardrick, principal of the school-wide project, has instilled in her students the meaning of giving through community outreach and has partnered with Alabama PALS Clean Campus Program. The front wall at the school is dedicated to the soldiers at Rucker for their dedication and work with the outdoor classroom. The Outdoor Classroom includes teacher gardens, a weather station, student sculptures, wind station, composting, sensory garden, butterfly garden, solar house, rock garden, blueberry garden, historical garden, performing arts center, storytelling center and a human sundial.


Left to right, the students of Rucker Boulevard Elementary School are so proud of their Outdoor Classroom, bottom right. Rucker Boulevard Elementary School loves their Soldiers Wall.

Alabama PALS is proud to be partnered with Rucker Elementary School. The elementary school won the second place PALS State Award and a scholarship of $750 awarded at the annual PALS Governor’s Award Luncheon.

The Clean Campus Program is designed to promote a cleaner and healthier environment for all Alabama schools, and presents an opportunity for students and faculty members to be part of having their school recognized for their efforts.



Clockwise from top left, composting bin using lunchroom leftovers; a sculpture made by a student out of recycled materials is featured in their Sculpture Garden; and a solar house made out of plastic bottles.

Hardrick took me on a tour of their Outdoor Classroom, and shared with me all of the project-based learning activities.



More students litter in groups than by themselves.

Prior to the tour, I presented a PALS educational program to the students. Giving to the Earth is powerful for students. Whether learning about littering, recycling, planting a tree or experiencing learning activities in an outdoor classroom, students become connected to the earth. In turn, it motivates them to want to do more while building a foundation for respect for their environment and community.

If you would like information on the Alabama PALS Clean Campus Program, contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Mary Stanford is the Clean Campus Coordinator for PALS.