Mike Szydlowski | KBIA

Mike Szydlowski

Columbia Nature School to be Placed Next to Three Creeks Conservation Area

Jul 2, 2019

A new nature school, where students from Columbia and other Boone County districts can learn about the environment by being immersed in it, will be next to Three Creeks Conservation Area south of Columbia.

The 207 acres where four classrooms and lab spaces will be built was donated by former Columbia Daily Tribune publisher Hank Waters and his wife, associate publisher Vicki Russell. The students will also have access to Three Creeks’ more than 1,000 acres.


After being approved at the Columbia City Council meeting April 15, certain schools can now have more than six chickens on their property. The amendment was proposed to enhance STEAM programming.

Aside from an annual 10-day project in elementary school classrooms, no public schools in Columbia raise chickens.

But starting this fall, Jefferson and Fairview Elementary School will be the first two to raise them long-term. Fairview is transitioning to become a place-based school, which emphasizes a focus on the school's surrounding environment over places only accessible in textbooks or technology.

KBIA's Charlie Clarke and Columbia Missourian reporter Hannah Hoffmeister went around to some of the district's schools to see how chickens are currently used in schools and how they'll be implemented in the future.

Aeroponic Towers To Be Placed in Columbia Public Schools

Sep 22, 2016
Columbia Public Schools

Coming in October, aeroponic towers will be placed in every elementary school in the Columbia Public School system.

  The towers hold 20 plants, each whose roots hang loosely in the air. Every 15 minutes, water is pumped up the tower from a reservoir at the bottom, and then drizzles onto the plants, eliminating the need to use soil.

Aeroponic systems use less water and some plants grow larger than in a conventional garden growing. The non-profit Columbia Public Schools Foundation approved the nearly 20 thousand dollar grant to pay for these plants.

CPS science director Mike Szydlowski came up with the idea to try to keep kids interested during school.