There is a 5-year partnership between the Northern Ozaukee School District and Riveredge Nature Center. Riveredge places an environmental educator into local districts to collaborate with teachers and staff. This position is considered a key part of our district's team working with a hands-on approach with all staff to reduce barriers to outdoor learning.
The Mark Montaba Nature Center, known as the NOSD School Forest, was created to get students outside to learn about the area around them. It was created in 1973 and was dedicated to Mark Montaba, a former Ozaukee High School Science teacher in 1997.
The Ozaukee Elementary School playground, in conjunction with areas surrounding that space, began transforming into the NOSD Backyard during the summer of 2023. This space will be one where students in all grades 4K-12th will engage in outdoor learning activities. The transformation of this space will take place over multiple years.
The Northern Ozaukee School District owns 10 plus acres to the north. Previously this land was rented to local farmers, but in the summer of 2023 a native prairie was planted with the help of acquiring multiple grants. The prairie will take three years to fully establish, but NOSD looks forward to offering our students, and community, another great outdoor space to learn.
NOSD Outdoor Learning Committee
This is a group of individuals who develop and oversee the stewardship of our school forest and outdoor learning spaces.
The mission of the committee is to encourage place-based learning for teachers, students and community and to inspire the next generation through out door experiences.
For more information and outreach opportunities please reach out to Rachel Race at firstname.lastname@example.org
It has been awesome to see the growth of outdoor learning in the Northern Ozaukee School District. We are fortunate to have our school forest and grounds that allow students to be out in nature and learning outside our four walls.
-Dave Karrels, NOSD Superintendent
I had the honor of working with Mark Montaba, our Nature Center namesake, when I was first employed at NOSD. He was a passionate, professional educator who brought outdoor education to life for his students. When Rachel Race became our Scientist in Residence and created the Outdoor Learning Committee, I felt joining was the best way to honor Mark's legacy. Rachel's enthusiasm, expertise and leadership have provided our district with a valuable scientific and educational resource. Under her guidance, a number of committed school and community members have joined forces to upgrade and expand our campus nature environments. It has been a sincere pleasure and privilege to contribute to this vital effort. An effort that honors the vision of our founders and the promise of our future.
- Andy Gremminger, OHS School Counselor
Through the Scientist in Residence Program, I have been able to engage my students outdoors, without being overwhelmed by the amount of time it would take to prepare to set up outside.
The students are continuously developing an appreciation for nature while still learning skills taught in a traditional classroom.
The NOSD backyard gives students an opportunity to problem solve and cooperate while using natural building materials. The students have been very creative in ways to use the stick building area.