Ivy Tech Bloomington hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the Biology Program’s Outdoor Learning Lab on April 30 at the Indiana Center for the Life Sciences (on Ivy Tech campus property) at 501 N Profile Parkway. This outdoor learning environment will eventually include native gardens, beehives, wooded trails, bird blinds, an intermittent pond, an outdoor classroom, and a picnic pavilion. The outdoor space will enable Ivy Tech students to study plant (and other) life as it happens. The space will also be open to the public with activities and scheduled programs for all ages. The groundbreaking ceremony included brief remarks on the history and future of the Outdoor Learning Lab and included planting the first plants in the native garden.

On Saturday, May 1, 12 student and alumni volunteers, along with Cote, helped plant the first native pollinator garden, plotting out and planting nearly four dozen varieties of plants, as well as laying a pathway through the garden. Ivy Tech students are currently developing websites for the various species to be plotted, which visitors to the garden can access via QR codes to learn more about the plants.

More than $8,000 in funding came from an Ivy Tech Foundation Circle of Ivy grant and donors committed $3,000 in December 2019. Since each garden costs about $10,000, the initial proposal was for about $60,000. Cote says that she can put $50 or $50,000 to use for teaching and learning in the new outdoor lab.

More information at link.ivytech.edu/biolab

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.