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Missouri ParkLAND Project

Sometimes someone comes up with an idea powerful enough to nudge the world a little.  While one might implore the education community with a suggestion and a whisper, we’ve taken a more direct route.  Ours is a challenge in all caps. 


Fueled by the courage of our convictions, the faculty of Raintree School dove into the dark, muddy waters of school change and came up with a mission (cue music swell in the background) – get every kid in Missouri to explore the wilds of our native landscape.  We call it Missouri ParkLAND Project.


During the spring of 2016, Raintree unveiled our ambitious initiative.  “EVERY kid to the wild?” you ask.  “I arch my eyebrow at that!” you say.  It’s hard work, we know.  But somebody’s gotta do it.  And who better than the first forest school in Missouri! 


Every outdoor explorer constructs her own story out of paces, little steps of time and focus, lasting mere seconds at dawn or quiet minutes under the summer sun, braided together to create a

coherent narrative of adventure, inquiry, passion and love.  “We have the world to live in on the condition that we will take good care of it.  And to take good care of it, we have to know it.  And to know it and to be willing to take care of it, we have to love it,” surmises Wendell Berry.  So it’s with the goal of knowing and loving wild spaces that Missouri ParkLAND Project was born. 


Beginning with our woodland campus and the magnificent Queeny Park across the street, the kindergarteners of Raintree School are mapping the local parks of St. Louis.  From prairies to forests, they are taking their role as young citizens seriously.  Each digital map, drawn and painted by Raintree kindergarteners, features the child’s view of wild areas at each park and houses a collection of lessons and learning activities for all ages at each point of interest. Call it a digital clearinghouse of ways to get Missouri students out of the playground and off the trail - all wrapped up in a pretty water colored picture.


As maps of parks are completed by Raintree School and partner schools, you can find them here.  Each park can be digitally explored to ensure children get the most out of their field trip. 


If you’d like to join the Missouri ParkLAND Project and produce student-made digital maps of your local park, contact us here.   

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