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Adventure is Out There! Montecito Union School's "Nature Lab"

June 6th, 2022


Adventure is out there! Wonder, discovery, and learning all come to life outside of the classroom in Montecito Union School’s highly-anticipated Nature Lab. A nearly 3-year plan to transform land into an empowering extension of learning is underway and the students of MUS are helping design and create their wonderland. Our team met with Carolyn Fitzgerald, VP of Montecito Union School Foundation, which is providing all of the seed funding for Nature Lab. Carolyn gave us a tour and exclusive sneak-peek of an exciting outdoor project for the Montecito school.

An Interactive Learning Ecosystem

Designed to immerse students in a wild space where they can play and “get messy, ” Nature Lab consists of an impressive multi-use space dedicated to outdoor learning. With the help of Montecito Union School Foundation and input from many of Santa Barbara’s top museums and non-profits, the MUS community has created a learning environment where STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) meets the natural world.

Expanding over three acres, and directly adjacent to Montecito Union School, the grounds will include everything from meditation gardens and pavilions to a chicken coop and tortoise exhibit. Complete with an orchard that currently features more than 35 types of fruit, students and visitors can also find a massive covered solar garden that generates 100% of the electricity for the school. Through exploration-centered design, collaboration, and play, Nature Lab is a mission-aligned concept that maximizes the enduring impact our environment has on the student’s lives.

Inspiring Lifelong Environmentalism

Inviting students to explore nature encourages them to care for each other and the planet. When every moment is an opportunity to discover, relate, and connect, learning becomes exciting. Nature Lab creates an experiential outdoor ecosystem that combines regenerative agriculture and nature-inspired arts to provide endless opportunities for growth. This is united by a key mission: encourage students to become lifelong learners, problem-solvers, and stewards of our community. We were so impressed by and thrilled for the community to have Nature Lab & to have had the opportunity to tour it ourselves. Well done, MUS!

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