Your Green Life: "Outdoor Classroom"

By KBJR News 1

September 13, 2012 Updated Sep 13, 2012 at 6:25 AM CDT

Duluth, MN
The Bagley Outdoor Nature Center was built two years ago on the 55 acre parcel of land in the back of the UMD campus.
But this is no ordinary building. Everything from the materials, to the architecture, and its energy uses hold up the most sustainable standards.

"Energy is the biggest feature of the building, reducing the need for energy is number one. But number two is also generating renewable power so out solar photovoltaic array generates power when its sunny outside and we get to see how much power we can generate and how little power we can use." Said Mindy Granley, the Sustainable Coordinator at UMD.

All the details where considered, even the toilets in the facility use state of the art technology to biodegrade what's flushed instead of letting it go into the sewers.
35 percent of the materials were manufactured locally, and it was constructed with aesthetic appeal.

Ken Gilbertson, a Professor of Environmental and Outdoor Education, told me "All the material is recycled material that you see and what's nice, it's a classy building, so you can use recycled material and it doesn't have to look like junk."

But this is more than just a building, it's also a classroom. The students enjoy the workspace because it allows them to study in a different and natural environment.

A student at UMD, Eric Vehe sure appreciates the classroom, "But this also gives us more of a traditional classroom setting, that we are inside, but then we can make use of the wonderful classroom that we have as a part of Bagley, whether we are using the Rock Pond or things in the forest. I think overall it fits well into the area."

There is something everyone can learn by just being close to nature, and that is the lesson the college hopes to teach.

"The most important part of the building is supporting learning at UMD, so not only is it helping us to use the Bagley nature area for learning, but its also a teaching tool itself." Said Granley.

The Bagley Outdoor Classroom was the first building in the University system to be certified by LEED at the platinum level.
Which is only one of few in the state.

Meteorologist Adam Lorch