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Join our Funders Collaborative! 

Kickemuit Middle School Outdoor Learning Zone

A Thrive Outside Funders Collaborative Opportunity


We envision a world where every child has the opportunity to thrive 

through a joyful relationship with nature.

Thrive Outside is thrilled to announce the launch of a transformative project: the Outdoor Learning Zone (OLZ) at the Kickemuit Middle School in Warren, Rhode Island!  


This initiative aims to revolutionize education by bringing the classroom outdoors and creating an inclusive environment where every student can thrive.

KMS project fundraising graphic (11 x 8.5 in) (4).png

Purpose and Benefits:

  • Academic Success: Outdoor Learning Zones and outdoor education training for teachers have been proven to promote academic success, pro-environmental behaviors, and healthy emotional and physical development among children.

  • Environmental Stewardship: By engaging students in outdoor learning, this project will promote pro-environmental behaviors and instill a sense of responsibility towards the planet.

  • Holistic Development: Outdoor learning supports healthy emotional and physical development among children, encouraging them to explore and connect with nature.​


Special focus of the KMS OLZ:

  • Accessibility: The OLZ is designed to be inclusive, providing access to nature for all students, including those with physical disabilities and other barriers.

  • Sustainability: The project addresses sustainability and climate resiliency through the creation of native meadow and woodland habitats, as well as green building and stormwater mitigation practices.

  • Environmental Justice: We aim to address equity in access to nature by providing a beautiful, natural space for students who have been traditionally marginalized. (RI DEM has determined that the area just west of the school is an environmental justice area, 24% of the school's students are economically disadvantaged, and 17% are minorities.)  


Join us in creating change. 

Together, we can make a difference in the lives of students and the health of our planet.

Join us in supporting the Outdoor Learning Zone at Kickemuit Middle School and help us create a brighter, more sustainable future for generations to come!

Other Important Information: 

Number of students impacted: 684 each year (plus 509 additional students each year if the Hugh Cole elementary school down the road are able to use it)


Number of residents gaining a green recreation space: approximately 11,000


Funding Sources:


  • The Rhode Island Department of Education granted $100,000

  • The Eastern Conservation District of RI granted $10,000 

  • The Bristol Garden Club granted $500 

  • An anonymous donor has donated a $15,000 match

  • Thrive Outside hosted a fundraising event raising almost $4,000

  • Thrive Funders Collaborative donations to-date: $9,000

KMS Community Match fundraising graphic (11 x 8.5 in) (4).png

A generous, anonymous donor has provided a match!

Help us unlock it!

Want to write a check?

Make payable to:

Thrive Outside

(Please write "KMS Project" in the memo)

Send to:

Thrive Outside

19 Sunnyside Ave.

Bristol, RI 02809

Want to learn more about the Funders Collaborative?

Contact: Sheila Dobbyn:

Thrive Outside is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and your donation is tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Kickemuit Middle School Vision Design

Outdoor Learning Zone Features:


Creativity Space: This area could be used for journaling, sketching, art exhibits, and possibly a  permanent art installation. As we move into the final design we welcome more input in shaping  this space. 


Meadow Walk: The nearby Kickemuit River inspired the walkway form, and the meadow idea  came from Environmental Educator Amy O'Donnell. It includes a native plant meadow garden, handicap accessible path,  stepping stone offshoot paths, birdhouses, and boulder seating. 


Outdoor Adventure Zone: Inspired by KMS teacher Jeff Grifka's idea to include a low-ropes course for team building and other activities. Includes a native woodland garden, low-ropes course, invention  space, bughouse, and varied seating options.


Flex Space: Includes a performance area with a stage and seating, picnic/work tables (that can  be moved to the side when using the stage for performances), message/white board, varied  seating options, and a pergola. 


Reset Space: This is a quiet area for teacher planning, student therapy, mindfulness, and learning.  Includes a pond, sensory stimulating plants, and varied seating options.


Growing Garden: This area is designated for horticulture. Includes raised bed planters including  one specially designed for wheelchair access, a work/picnic table for study and enjoying a  harvest meal, storage shed, compost area, boulder seating, and an optional fence. 

Lawn Area: This would be used for physical education and fire drills.

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