CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- One local school is celebrating science and nature with a new outdoor science park.
School and city officials joined McKee Road Elementary in their dedication of the park, hoping this will raise kids’ tests scores and interest in science.
"Our children have watched it go from a dream to a reality," said Mckee Road Elementary Principal, Beverly Newsome.
The students of McKee Road Elementary school got their first chance to explore their new outdoor science park. It’s modeled after the state of North Carolina, after Newsome said she wanted something to get the kids outside and learn.
"As long as science is hands-on, children love science,” said Newsome.
Outdoor Coordinator Janet Taranto designed the regions from the teepee in the Piedmont, to the sand on the coast, along with plaques that teach children-- like the tree trunks representing deforestation.
"One of the things important for them to understand is how much carbon dioxide trees absorb and how much oxygen they give out and why it’s so important to protect our tree canopy," said Taranto.
CMS Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison emphasized the importance of this project with North Carolina ranking 36 out of 50 in the country in science.
"We're not where we want to be, so it's not so much where we're ranking, but we know science is a huge part of what we're wanting to have our children learn and do, and so we have to do a better job," said Dr Morrison.
Mayor Anthony Foxx joined school officials and kids for their dedication.
"Doing things like this are helping kids understand that science has real life applications and they use science all the time," said Mayor Foxx.
And they're hoping as this park grows the kids knowledge will too.
"By doing the experiments in the classroom as well as doing this type of learning environment it should definitely positively impact our students achievement in science," said Newsome.
They hope to add a garden to the park and continue planting trees as a tool to help the kids learn.
School officials say the public is free to visit and use the park as well.