Kenneth D. Welch Outdoor Learning Center
The mission of the Katy ISD Outdoor Learning Center is to provide science and social studies lessons aligned with the district’s curriculum and instruction goals and objectives. The center strives to provide a unique, stimulating and meaningful learning environment outside the traditional classroom setting. This “experience-rich” learning is the result of a cooperative partnership of students, teachers, parents, administrators and community.
Inherent in this mission is the belief that the Outdoor Learning Center will provide students with instructional opportunities that will enrich and extend the district’s science and social studies curriculum and instill a positive lifelong attitude toward learning.
The Welch Outdoor Learning Center, established in 1981, is a facility owned and operated by the Katy Independent School District. The center is named after Kenneth Welch who played a key role in the planning stages of the center and making the outdoor learning center idea a reality. The OLC, as it is most often called, is located about 1/4 mile west of the Katy ISD Administration building at 6301 South Stadium Lane, Katy, Texas.
The facility consists of 34.5 acres of land, much of which is wooded. The buildings on the site include a science classroom/museum, a caretaker’s cottage, a history classroom/museum, and a large barn and a barnyard. The barnyard includes a windmill, a variety of farm animals and a small pond. A large garden area is located behind the barnyard area. A smaller demonstration garden is located across the street from the front of the barn. The center also has hard surface roads to the buildings, a 1.3 acre pond with piers and a bridge, and several wooded nature trails.