Vivant Edu

how a school combines the outdoors with learning

DEVILS LAKE – White Horse Hill National Game Preserve does more than provide a scenic tour with the opportunity to glance at bison, elk, prairie dogs or a flock of birds. 

It also acts as a sanctuary of learning for fifth graders. 

Originally called Sullys Hill, the 1,674-acre wildlife refuge has provided a unique opportunity for more than 40 fifth graders to learn the primary subjects of schooling and apply them to the nature-abundant confines the preserve has to offer. Since the program’s inception close to 10 years ago (2012 was the program’s first year), students have developed the knack to be on time when the bus leaves Central Middle School after morning announcements. 

“My favorite thing so far is the fish and wildlife,” fifth grader Landry Exner said. “We get to go hiking, or if we get to do something with fish…anything that involves going outdoors. Every morning, you come out and do a little hike instead of going straight to class. You can get nature in your body before you are ready to go.”