The site for the outdoor classroom on Arrowwood Preserve near Lone Star College-Tomball is being prepped for construction, which will begin in the fall, said Jill Boullion, the executive director of the Bayou Land Conservancy.

Boullion said the Bayou Land Conservancy acquired the 117-acre forest in Montgomery County, just north of LSC-Tomball, in early 2020 and quickly decided to partner with LSC-Tomball to use the land for unique opportunities.

“Some of our staff went over [to LSC-Tomball] and did a presentation [on] ... what our vision was for the property and how we thought that would be a great place for students to do hands-on learning, to be able to do projects, to use it as an outdoor lab, and that’s really where things took off,” Boullion said.

Boullion said the outdoor classroom will be about a 24-by-16-foot shelter with benches and tables. Bouillon said the project is fully permitted and the structure is being designed. With this, students will be able to get out of the sun and gather to discuss what they found. Boullion said the goal for construction is to finish the project so fall semester students can have access to the outdoor classroom.

Boullion said the Bayou Land Conservancy encourages groups to reach out to the conservancy to visit the preserve. However, it is not open to the public all the time.

Brandon Lowery, LSC-Tomball professor of biology and environmental science, said he is excited to have access to the preserve and use the outdoor classroom, which is within walking distance of the campus.

“With an outdoor classroom, that would allow us to take students out there, for us to get everybody outdoors and actually look at living specimens versus kind of hanging out in a lab setting. The nice thing about Arrowwood is ... it gives us an overall glimpse of what the Houston-area green spaces look like currently,” Lowery said.

Lowery said he and other professors have been brainstorming how they can use the outdoor classroom, including doing macroinvertebrate, plant or geologic sediment studies; looking at different types of soils; and investigating the water quality.

In addition, Boullion said the Bayou Land Conservancy received funding to build a greenhouse and dig a water well on the preserve. She said these will be constructed after the outdoor classroom is complete.