Hilltop Primary School Tree Trust

Students in Minnetrista learn al fresco with the help of an outdoor classroom.

The students at Hilltop Primary School in Minnetrista aren’t afraid of getting dirty. After breaking ground in October on an outdoor classroom funded by Hilltop Tree Trust, the students study science, math and language outdoors—even in the mud.

With $10,000 worth of work from Tree Trust and lots of volunteers, Hilltop has its third outdoor “classroom” complete with a circle of sturdy wooden benches and a podium. Surrounding the area are some of the 19 unique trees that each classroom selected, studied and planted in the fall.

As Hilltop looks for other ways to get its pre-Kindergarten through fourth grade students learning outside, such as rain gardens, one thing’s for sure: They are embracing nature as one tremendous teacher.