Nestled in a hardwood forest in the middle of Fairview’s Bowie Nature Park   
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For peace - walk in nature          For truth - ask a child           For serenity - be yourself


Purpose:  A place of solace. A place for learning - never too young or old to enjoy the classroom

Joann's Outdoor Classrom was built by her mother, Janie Wells, in the summer of 2002 in memory of her daughter, Joann Tiesler.  Joann lost her life in a brutal manner, which was the antitheses of the way Joann lived her life on October 7, 2001.  She had procured an insurance policy two months earlier with her mother as the beneficiary.  At that time, Janie wondered what Joann wanted her to do with that money.  After a year of heart-wrenching grief, Janie woke up on Mother's Day, 2002 knowing what to do with that money and the best way to honor the way her daughter's and mission in life.

Being a graphic artist, she immediately went to the computer and created files of what she would give contractors for their bid:


 

The next day she spoke with Bowie Nature Park officials with her plan and got permission to ask the City Commissioners for approval.  The took the plan to three contractors and ask them to place their bid on her porch by the end of the week.  Along with the primative drawings, she specified that the structure be built of Oak, tin roof, last at least one hundre years, be large enough to seat one hundred students, and the date of completiion October 1, 2002.   Brandon Sullivan placed his bid under a statue of an angel and automatically won the bid.  Janie didn't even open the other two.

Brandon and Janie met with the city mayor and commissioners the next day.  They voted unanimously the following Tuesday to approve Joann's Outdoor Classroom in Bowie Park.  Within one week we had the site chosen, a contractor, surveying done and the classroom approved by the city commissioners.

Janie had a knowing each step of the way.  When an obstacle arose there was always a resource with a solution.  Many hearts and hands completed Joann's dream with wooden critter, requests for memorials on the footpath walkway and many miracles took place in that beautiful section of Bowie Nature Park.

Images of Building the Classroom

Imagine kids perched in a classroom set in the middle of a forest—a place where they may work with computers, or watch a PowerPoint demonstration, all while completely surrounded by nature.

The imagination becomes reality this Saturday, September 17, at 10 a.m. as Bowie Nature Park in Fairview holds an “electrifying celebration”—the formal turning on of electricity at Joann’s Outdoor Classroom.    
Press Release


Joann's Outdoor Classroom    ♦    Location: Bowie Nature Park    ♦    Bowie Lake Road    ♦    Fairview, TN 37062    ♦    615-799-5544