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Committee Explores Outdoor Learning Center’s Potential

A committee of parents, community members, and NISD staff are exploring the possibilities of the district’s new Outdoor Learning Center. The 193-acre site in Northlake is full of educational potential with four spring-fed ponds, up to 20 seasonal ponds, roaming wildlife, and acres of trees and wildflowers.

As the committee discusses the possibilities of what students could learn and how the site should be arranged, all agree that the Outdoor Learning Center should preserve the community’s rich heritage stemming from pioneer days, family farms, and early railroad communities.

Northwest ISD purchased the property, formerly the home of Texas Lil's Dude Ranch, in an effort to provide all students outdoor, hands-on learning experiences. Fifth-grade students have traditionally traveled to Camp Grady Spruce on Possum Kingdom Lake to investigate and explore nature. Having a district-operated site is expected to save the expense of fees and out of town travel costs while allowing for targeted curriculum and customized experiences 

While the Outdoor Learning Center will be developed over time, Northwest ISD students and families are already enjoying the natural setting. Northwest ISD hosted the district’s first Family Star Party at the center, providing NISD families the perfect setting to gaze at the night sky. Biology students from Northwest High School have also had the opportunity to perform water studies at the ponds, and preparations are being made for field investigations by all fourth- and seventh-grade students. Fourth grade students will be studying what makes a healthy pond system, native plants, soil temperature testing, and organism’s habitats. Our seventh grade students will be exploring how scientists use dichotomist key to identify plants, analyzing pond water, looking at how weathering, erosion, and deposition affects the land, adaptations of living organism.

To view photos of the Outdoor Learning Center, visit the district events section of the NISD Photo Gallery accessible through the district’s website at