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New Outdoor Classroom at Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary in Saint Paul, MN

On Saturday, October 19th, the Saint Paul (MN) community celebrated the dedication of a new outdoor classroom at the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary. This classroom will provide students and park visitors with a place to learn about the Sanctuary’s unique geology, American Indian science and culture, and early industrial history.

Sue Vento, NPT Leadership Council member said, “This beautiful sanctuary continues to amaze all who visit it. The addition of the outdoor classroom will provide invaluable educational opportunities for learners of all ages, which Bruce would celebrate with all of us! Special thanks to the 3M and McNeely Foundations, RRTL Architects, the City of Saint Paul and National Park Trust for their extraordinary generosity and vision. The community spirit of residents on Saint Paul's East Side and the leaders and staff of the Lower Phalen Creek Project have motivated and guided the development of the sanctuary and have made it the treasure it is today.”

National Park Trust successfully secured a grant from the 3M Foundation to provide resources for the design and construction of the classroom. These generous resources were also matched by another gift secured by the Lower Phalen Creek Project (LPCP), the local friends group of the park, from the McNeely Foundation. In addition, 3rd-grade Buddy Bison students from the Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland – located 1,000 miles from the Sanctuary – learned about this project from NPT and decided to designate their Pennies for Parks fund to support this project. They used their artistic talents to craft and sell 65 bracelets!

Interim Director of the Lower Phalen Creek Project, Dan McGuiness says, “With thanks to the community, our partners, and our donors, now people coming to the sanctuary have a place to gather at this beautiful classroom, made of natural limestone and enjoy interpretive programs, educational programs and special outdoor celebrations, all with a backdrop of the sanctuary, the river and the city.