Archive for Thursday, April 22, 2004

Greenthumb preparing to hand over the clippers

April 22, 2004

A local woman who played a significant role in bringing outdoor wildlife learning to elementary school students in Basehor-Linwood will step aside at the end of the year from a program she helped create.

But, not before making sure there is someone to take the helm in her place.

Belinda Kraemer, the coordinator for outdoor wildlife learning sites at Glenwood Ridge Elementary School, will lead students in Earth Day activities Thursday at the school.

It could be her last, said Kraemer, who's hoping to step down so another parent-volunteer can coordinate the program.

"I guess I'm kind of torn," she said. "I just think its time to move on and let someone continue it, but I'm going to have a hard time walking away until we find someone."

Kraemer has proven to be a valuable resource in helping provide outdoor learning sites to students in Basehor-Linwood.

In 1998, she helped coordinate care of the sites at Basehor Elementary School and in 2001, with the aid of grants and parent and private donations, she started the program at Glenwood Ridge.

Glenwood Ridge now features five gardens including a butterfly and hummingbirds garden, a wetlands garden and a songbird garden. The school is also home to an 8' x 12' greenhouse, which contains approximately 200 various forms of plants throughout the year.

The sites are designed to attract native wildlife and to provide learning opportunities for students.

Kathryn Leo, a sixth-grade teacher at Glenwood Ridge, takes her students to the sites and the greenhouse, which she said offers them educational experiences that can't be had in the classroom.

Leo's students will participate in the Earth Day events Thursday.

"They're excited," she said. "Some of them have probably never planted anything before."

Kraemer said the outdoor learning program is invaluable to students and looks forward to the program continuing in the future.

"I think it's a great program and there are a lot of benefits to the kids," she said. "It's just finding the right person willing to take it over."

Anyone interested in assuming the coordinator's position should call Kraemer at (913) 441-2897 or the school at (913) 724-3536.

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