What are "Outdoor Discover Zones" and why are they important?

Outdoor Discovery Zones are nature-themed classrooms. TVWA empowers educators in outdoor classrooms activities to connect students with a natural learning environment. Using low-cost natural and recycled materials we help to create a safe, inspiring, wildlife-friendly zone for kids to connect to the natural world. The outdoor classroom evolves from the real needs of children, offers activities that are personally meaningful to them and fully embraces developmentally appropriate practices.



 Outdoor Discovery Zones at ThrivAlaska

Planning and development of an Outdoor Classroom at ThrivAlaska's Head Start and Early Head Start school yards. As part of our Outdoor Discovery Zones we are creating a space with purpose, as a play space with signage and opportunities for natural curriculum, exploration, and discovery. Early experiences with the natural world have been positively linked with the development of imagination and a sense of wonder. Wonder is important as it a motivator for lifelong learning. 




Outdoor Discovery Zone at THREAD

A outdoor-themed playground using low-cost natural and recycled materials to create a safe, inspiring, wildlife-friendly zone for kids and their parents to connect to the natural world.  

This project was created for THREAD at their Fairbanks base, 1908 Old Pioneer Way.  It was completed in partnership with THREAD and the Fairbanks Soil and Water Conservation District.  Funded by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service project agreement for Schoolyard Habitats.  





Elements of this project include:

  • Natural fencing made of hand-peeled fire-killed spruce poles, locally harvested and assembled by Boreal Journeys Alaska.

  • Nature trail made of landscaping cloth, rock chips, and stenciled tree cookies.

  • Dry creek bed full of bull rock and river rock.

  • Kiddie picnic table made from large spruce logs.

  • Four Square garden with stenciled pavers.

  • Bird nesting box made by Ducks Unlimited.

  • Painted Rain Barrel (Green Infrastructure Project!)

Coming Soon!

  • Rain Garden

  • Magnetic box culvert

  • Weather station

  • Balance Beam

This project was made possible by volunteer labor and generous donations from:

  • Fairbanks Rotary Club

  • ATLAS Youth Corps

  • Boreal Journeys Alaska

  • Fairbanks Sand and Gravel

  • Exclusive Landscaping and Paving

  • Arctic Fire and Safety

  • Ducks Unlimited

  • Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game

  • Spenard's Building Supplies

  • Home Depot

  • and more! (coming soon)