Outdoor Studies

Welcome to Hillside Elementary PTO’s Outdoor Studies Program, which connects staff and families who want kids to explore natural resources and outdoor spaces. We aim to combine efforts, streamline spending, and build programming that can be sustained over the long term. 

Email us for more information and to be added to our volunteer list: HillsideOutdoorStudies@gmail.com

Hillside Piedmont Prairie Demonstration Garden:

The Hillside Piedmont Prairie Demonstration Garden allows students to explore the historic grassland ecosystem that would have covered much of the Virginia Piedmont region. Students can have lessons outside in the garden and use plant materials to study the senses, seeds, plants, growing conditions, pollinators, habitats, ecosystems, and more.  Learn more about our Piedmont Prairie here!

Native Plant Foundation Plantings:
Beginning in the fall of 2023, volunteers began installing donated plants around the school grounds. The plants will help the children study pollinators, food chains, soil health, and ecosystems. They are also suitable for residential landscapes and support local biodiversity.

See our slide presentation to learn about plants in the gardens.

Hillside Elementary Veggie Garden:

Initially installed several years ago, the Veggie Garden supplied kindergartener-grown vegetables to the school’s cafeteria but it is now in disrepair. We’re looking for volunteers to help us revive it. Email us to help:  HillsideOutdoorStudies@gmail.com


The following local organizations have provided site visits, expertise, and materials for our programs. Check them out and support their work!