Old Trail School
Living Lab and Greenhouse
Surrounded by the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Old Trail School’s Living Lab and Greenhouse aids in the ongoing development of the school’s sustainable educational philosophies by providing space for science classes and experiments. Inside the greenhouse, a computerized, self-modulating environmental control system regulates the temperature and humidity, maintaining a static environment throughout the seasons. The Living Lab and Greenhouse supports hands-on lessons in ecology, agriculture, architecture, aquaculture, engineering and environmental sustainability for grades 1-8.
Replacing the school’s current wastewater system is a Living Machine system, which operates like an engineered wetland, significantly less energy. The design imitates the surrounding environment of the greenhouse – in the form of horizontal flow wetlands, vertical flow wetlands, a primary tank, and various vaults and equipment. In addition to being located partially in the greenhouse, the system is located partially underground and partially in a wetland area next to the greenhouse, and ends at a tributary nearby. Included is a small demonstration pond and a tidal wetland column for in-classroom learning. The Living Machine is also accessible via the internet for remote learning and monitoring.