Last Friday was a busy day for the National Junior Honor Society at Maumelle Middle School, where students built an outdoor classroom to enable students to study outside.

Science teacher and club sponsor Laura Mewborn said the idea was student inspired, and students completed much of the work with the help of a few parent volunteers.

In addition to building an area for a white board and assembling picnic tables, the group of 50 students built and hung bat and bird houses in nearby trees to attract wildlife.

They also painted colorful "toad abodes" to draw lizards, frogs and other species to the area. They hung nesting materials in trees for birds building nests in the spring and filled feeders with bird food.

Mewborn said the school borders a protected wetlands, which makes it an ideal learning environment, especially for science classes.

The project was made possible by a grant from the Arkansas Game and Fish commission. Home Depot donated several large trees, which the group expects to plant this week.

"I couldn’t be more proud of these students," Mewborn said. "This is something the school and its students will be able to use for years to come."