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Kohl Scholarship Funds Outdoor Learning Spaces at Wakanda Elementary

Friday, April 21, 2017

A lifelong interest became a reality for Anne Hasse, a teacher at Wakanda Elementary School, through support from the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation. Hasse, the 2013-14 Elementary Teacher of the Year, used her Teacher Fellowship and Teacher of the Year stipends to attend the Frank Lloyd Wright Falling Water Teacher Residency program.

During her residency, she was paired with a professor and six fellow educators from around the country to bring the lens of architecture to teaching. Anne and her colleagues experienced a multidisciplinary approach to teaching through architecture. She was immersed in a supportive learning environment that focused on creative inquiry through visual arts, history, architecture, sustainability, and the relationship of architecture and nature.

Anne left the program invigorated and ready to tap into her new knowledge and to give back to her school. “It started a ripple effect really, it was just so much bigger than just me,” said Anne. She pondered ways to tap into nature to enhance learning for all Wakanda students.Teacher and Student in Woods

Together with then Wakanda Elementary School Principal Greg Corning, Anne decided to partner with local Eagle Scout and Menomonie High School student Giovanni Mosely to think about the possibilities of creating an outdoor learning space at Wakanda Elementary. They wanted something different, something that was permanent and available to all kids. They wanted to create a flexible space that could be used for silent reading or even an alternative space for instruction - a space that would extend beyond the walls of a traditional classroom to transform learning.

With these goals in mind, the team decided that an area with benches would be a perfect fit. Giovanni used the funding provided to Wakanda from the Kohl Foundation to build fifteen outdoor Aldo Leopold style benches and create a ‘secret garden’ type of space. Today, the benches are used by all Wakanda staff and students. Thanks to Greg, Anne, Giovanni, and the Kohl Foundation, Wakanda students are now able to enjoy firsthand the benefit of learning immersed in nature.

Benches in the Woods

What types of Scholarships are available through the Herb Kohl Foundation?

The Herb Kohl Foundation provides several different educational scholarships:

  • The Excellence Scholarship provide scholarships to graduating Wisconsin high school students who have demonstrated academic excellence, outstanding leadership, citizenship, community service, integrity, and other special talents.
  • The Fellowship rewards teachers who have demonstrated superior ability to inspire love of learning in their students, have motivated others, and have provided meritorious service both inside and outside the classroom.
  • The Leadership Award recognizes principals who have set high standards for instruction, achievement, and character, and created a climate to best serve students, families, staff, and community.
  • The Initiative Scholarship was established to recognize students who have demonstrated a high level of motivation to achieve, shown strong promise for achieving success in college and beyond, overcome significant personal obstacles or adversity, and have not yet received other academic-based scholarships.

For more information on the various educational scholarships and to learn more about the Kohl Foundation, please visit