Construction of a local outdoor classroom begins this weekend, and volunteers are needed.

The Hope Street Garden and Learning Lab, where students will learn about gardening, plants and nature while outdoors, is a unique endeavor, said Anne Clark, the project's coordinator.

Clark, community outreach specialist for Lincoln Charter School, said outdoor classrooms rarely exist outside California, underscoring the originality of a project like this in Pennsylvania. The public is invited to a groundbreaking at 11 a.m. Saturday.

The garden will be located on West Hope Avenue in York.

Volunteer registration begins at 7:45 a.m. at an on-site volunteer table. Volunteers will prepare the site by cleaning up fencing, clearing brush and erecting banners for the project's partners.

Clark said she expects 100 to 200 volunteers.

She said local schools are joining the initiative.

"We have such a unique group," she said. "All the schools are involved -- public, private and charter." She said Penn State and York College students also are involved.

"I'm not even a gardener, and I'm excited," she said.

Aside from volunteering on-site, the community can help the project by donating new or used garden tools and equipment. For more information, contact Clark at (717) 817-4019 or

-- Reach Mollie Durkin at