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Home / Montgomery Parks debuts new self-sustaining classroom for environmental learning at Black Hill Regional Park

Montgomery Parks debuts new self-sustaining classroom for environmental learning at Black Hill Regional Park

Home / Montgomery Parks debuts new self-sustaining classroom for environmental learning at Black Hill Regional Park

SEED Classroom is made possible through the Montgomery Parks Foundation.

WHEATON, Md. –  Montgomery Parks and Montgomery Parks Foundation are celebrating the opening of the SEED Classroom, an innovative learning space, on Saturday, May 18, 2024. SEED is an acronym for Sustainable Education Every Day. The new classroom at Black Hill Regional Park will increase the educational opportunities available at the park.

A drawing of the Seed Classroom render

What:     SEED Classroom Grand Opening

When:     Saturday, May 18, 2024, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
                     (Rain or Shine)

Where:    Black Hill Regional Park
                20930 Lake Ridge Dr., Boyda, MD 20841

Parking:  Near Picnic Shelter E or F or the Black Hill Discovery Center.  
                 Shuttle provided between parking lots and event site.

The SEED classroom showcases how an environmentally friendly building functions. The living lab space, large open classroom and covered deck will be used for a park-based nature preschool program, school field trips, private and public events.

“The SEED classroom is an innovative amenity that we can use as a learning tool,” said Miti Figueredo, director of Montgomery Parks. “Students can come see how the renewable energy systems work and imagine a future where sustainable buildings are the norm.”

The SEED classroom is a net-zero energy user. The building produces all the water and power it needs to function with a rainwater cistern that waters a living plant wall inside the building, a composting toilet, and solar panels on the roof to generate electricity.

“The addition of the 6.5 kWh solar array and rainwater capture system allows the SEED Classroom to meet net-zero goals and serve as a hands-on teaching tool for children,” said Johnny Richardson, program manager of Green Mountain Energy Sun Club, one of the SEED classroom’s major financial supporters. “Our Sun Club grants are designed to promote sustainability and support important causes in the community.”

The Montgomery Parks Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting Montgomery Parks, coordinated efforts to provide funding for the project.

“The Montgomery Parks Foundation is thrilled to partner with Montgomery Parks and the community to bring this special space to life. Thanks to philanthropic support, this unique classroom was made possible and will be a valuable resource to county residents for years to come,” said Katie Rictor, executive director of the Montgomery Parks Foundation.

Major financial support for the SEED classroom has been provided by: 

The SEED classroom is located at a former park maintenance yard. It brings new life to that area and a connection to the nearby Black Hill Community Garden and greenhouse. It is near walking trails, a large stream, and wetland areas.

About Montgomery Parks     
Montgomery Parks manages more than 37,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 419 parks. Montgomery Parks is focused on promoting physical activity, social connectivity, and environmental stewardship, especially in diverse and urbanizing areas, with an emphasis on teens, working-age adults, and seniors. Montgomery Parks is a department of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high-quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems.  

About The Montgomery Parks Foundation
The Montgomery Parks Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that champions Montgomery County Parks by cultivating financial support and public engagement of county residents and businesses as members, donors, sponsors and advocates.

Montgomery Parks, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities. Please contact the Program Access Office at 301-495-2581 (Voice), MD Relay 7-1-1 or 800-552-7724 or ProgramAccess@MontgomeryParks.org to request a disability modification. Visit Montgomery Parks Accessibility for more information.