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For Mound, a field trip can mean going next door (Photo gallery)







Some students from Mound School trooped into the November gray and cold for a learning exercise, but none of them complained.

A trip to the new Morgana Bluffs Nature Preserve and Learning Center is always fun.

Mound sits conveniently next to the four acres of wetlands, meadows and forested hillside. Teachers have been incorporating the space, which is open to the public, into lessons even before it was dedicated in mid-October, in a ceremony that included tossing milkweed “seed bombs.”

“We’ve been using it about once a week,” said teacher Michelle Cain, whose second-graders walked the preserve’s trail Friday. “It’s really neat that we have it in our own back yard. The kids love it.”

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland coordinated improvement of the land, which was once the site of a powerhouse for the sprawling Cleveland Worsted Mills garment manufacturing plant. Much of the plant was destroyed by fire in 1993.

Monica Marshall, who manages outdoor and environmental programs for the Boys & Girls Clubs, guides the classes on their visits. She smiled as the second-graders joyfully hurried down the preserve’s looping path onto a platform overlooking wetlands.

“The deck is their favorite part,” she said. “They feel like they are out on the water.”

The class, which is studying weather, stopped at points along the path and excitedly answered Marshall's questions about rain, evaporation, clouds and wind. They checked readings on a thermometer and rain gauge and watched as Marshall used an anemometer, which measures wind velocity.

“I like the water cycle,” Markyia, a student, said after getting back inside the school. “”It keeps on going and going and going.”

Partners in the project included the City of Cleveland, CMSD, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, the Clean Ohio Fund, the Ohio & Erie Canalway Strategic Initiative Program, Slavic Village Development Corp. and the West Creek Conservancy.

The project, was funded with a combination of nearly $600,000 from the state, sewer district and the Ohio & Erie Canalway program. CMSD donated a conservation easement, while Slavic Village Development and the West Creek Conservancy contributed consulting and planning.

The Third Federal Foundation will assist with grounds maintenance.

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