The OLE was designed to represent different ecosystems in
Although classes sometimes pursue applied learning projects in the OLE, their chief hands-on involvement is with the adjacent vegetable garden. Students plant, cultivate and harvest vegetables in the raised beds of this area. Master Gardeners help facilitate school projects in both the vegetable garden and the OLE proper.
The Carlson OLE has several rainwater harvesting systems. The largest, constructed in 2005, is a 5,000 gallon above-ground cistern collecting water from the roof of the gymnasium. Rainwater travels down a 300 feet pipeline to the cistern. Harvested rainwater can be used to feed the small pond or to water areas of the OLE. Because of elevation changes across the site, the system operates entirely by gravity flow.
Alice Carlsonâ€™s OLE became a master gardener project in 2007 with Sharon Chastain as the project lead. There are about 12 Master Gardeners who regularly work in the garden. While the Master Gardeners continue to follow the original blueprint for the garden, laid out by a landscape architect, they have added many new areas and features over the years. The work days are Mondays and Thursdays. Start times vary according to the season.
Projects currently underway in the Carlson OLE are a rain garden and a fossil dig with a living roof.