Belvedere has an award-winning eco-program
Environmental Education at Belvedere
Belvedere’s eco-program includes lessons connected to units of inquiry, a student-led Green Team, recycling, composting, native plants, annual seed sale, trout in the classroom, gardens, meaningful watershed educational experiences, citizen science, litter pickups, field trips, bluebird monitoring, and outdoor learning spaces.
Students and their families are invited to participate in six Outdoor Club outings on Saturday mornings throughout the year. The outings are opportunities for families to explore and experience nature together. Contact Ms. Auerbach if you would like to participate!
Do you need community service hours or are you a Scout? We can always use help, whether it's donated goods, cash or sweat equity. High-need items include garden gloves (esp. youth sizes), seeds, native plants, fruit/vegetable/herb plants, leaf mulch, and large logs. High-need deeds include weeding and mulching our gardens and maintaining our paths. If you'd like to make a donation, help on the grounds, or are in search of service hours or a Girl Scout/Eagle Scout award, get in touch with our environmental education teacher. Cash and in-kind donations made to our PTA are tax-deductible.
Outdoor Learning Spaces
The outdoor classroom in the courtyard used to be a mostly neglected area of grass with a few bushes and trees on the edges. Thanks to about 100 volunteers and generous grants from the Dominion Foundation, FCPS Facilities, and our own community, we transformed the turf into native plant gardens that attract butterflies and bees AND into a permeable paver patio with picnic tables that attract students and staff. On any given day, you may find a small group of students and classes learning, mentors meeting with their mentees, or teachers finding a few minutes of peace and quiet.
Belvedere has gardens designed just to attract pollinators. One is at the school's main entrance, another is in the back of our school in our raised beds.
FCPS initially planted the meadow to prevent flooding in the houses down the hillside. Classes come to the meadow to learn about soil absorption, soil conservation, erosion, stormwater runoff, root systems, habitat, pollination, lifecycles, biodiversity, adaptation, ecosystem functions -- the list goes on. It's also a fun place to watch wildlife.
Raised Garden Beds
With more than 20 raised garden beds, we have lots of space to grow fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. We’re trying to increase the amount of food we grow in our gardens and get it to those who need it. Student gardeners and families help plan, plant, water, weed, and maintain our raised beds.
We've adopted adjacent Belvedere Park. We maintain a trail from school to the park and work with the Fairfax County Park Authority to remove invasive plants and replace them with natives.
At the front of the school, we have a timeline garden showcasing authentic gardens over time, including: a Three Sisters garden, a Colonial garden, a Civil War/medicinal garden, a Victory Garden, and a Peace Garden.
With a giant chair and log seats, the story pit is a favorite place for students to read outside.
The hideout offers a “secret” space in the woods with log seating for a class. A trip to the hideout is always an adventure.
With plants—mostly herbs—known to ease anxiety, wind chimes, and curves, the meditation garden offers a calming space to anyone experiencing stress.
This isn’t your typical classroom with tree stumps as seats. You might find students working quietly—or jumping between the stumps—in the outdoor classroom at the end of the meadow.
The newest outdoor space, the trail runs behind the school between the neighborhood paths. You may encounter a class on a nature walk, erosion tour, or learning the difference between English ivy and poison ivy.
Contact our Environmental Educator!
- Hourly Band 1