Aspirantes in the Forest-Outdoor Learning in a Suburban Setting

Garth Stubbolo

Las Americas ASPIRA Academy High School is a bilingual charter high school located in Newark, Delaware. It is on a 14.6-acre suburban campus, 5.6 acres is forested with approximately 1000 ft. of Persimmon Run, a tributary of the West Branch Christina River.


Plans have been made for building a learning/hiking/cross country/fitness trail along the creek and around the property that include outdoor seating for outdoor classroom use, whether for science, art, photography or to just get the students outside for class rather than in a building!

On July 29, 2023, young adults from a local church group “The Journey” provided a day of service to cut undergrowth for trail and outdoor seating areas and removed brush and downed limbs from areas along the proposed trail at Las Americas ASPIRA Academy High School.

A local tree removal service has agreed to provide mulch to line the trail and the outdoor seating area as well as logs for seating. A local contractor has agreed to build a teaching station including outdoor tables and whiteboard.

The trail is in use already! Biology classes at Las Americas ASPIRA Academy High School have been collecting and pressing flowers and leaves to build a baseline of the flora in the area. They have done dip netting and insect collection as well as placing leaf packs for macroinvertebrate studies.


Chemistry classes have taken water samples to analyze in the lab to build a baseline for ongoing analysis of the water quality. Plans are in place for students to develop a plan for ongoing analysis of the stream at several locations to monitor the impact of housing developments bordering the stream and runoff from a local highway that crosses it. Earth science classes will be studying the structure of the stream including riffle zones, erosion and point bar formation.

At this point a portion of the first trail loop along one side of the creek has been cleared and is being used by science classes. We look forward to completion of Phase 1 this fall! The campus of Las Americas ASPIRA Academy High School holds an outstanding opportunity for the growth of leadership skills and environmental stewardship for the students, staff, and community of Las Americas ASPIRA Academy High School.