POD Wake

Johnson Pond Learning Center

Johnson Pond Learning Center, a participating POD Wake demonstration center in Fuquay-Varina, NC, changed the way children used their large OLE by installing a six-foot wide concrete looped path in the preschool area and a five-foot wide pathway in the toddler area.

Once the pathway installation was complete, the center held volunteer workdays to install trees, shrubs, perennials, and grasses, as well as seven new play and learning settings. With guidance from NLI, the center adjusting the layout of their internal fence lines to allow for better use of the OLE, opening up more space for the school-age program, and creating a dedicated infant space adjacent to the building.

A 95 square foot production garden, 3 new fruit trees and 48 square feet of fruiting shrubs have engaged a new generation of young gardeners, as well as teachers, with staff bringing ideas and concepts from the outdoors into the classroom.

Johnson Pond Learning Center invested $17,000 in their OLE during the course of the POD Wake project.


Address: 6523 Johnson Pond Road, Fuquay-Varina, NC 27526
Phone Number: (919) 557-9448
Permit Type: Five Star Center License
Website: Visit Website

The kids love talking about the garden! They are excited about it, and the garden extends their science and nature learning. The parents say the kids are more interested in gardening at home.

Center Director

Before Renovation

After Renovation

Outdoor Learning Environment

Safe Place Schematic

Planting bed, vine tepee, pathway, and nature observation center.

Wheeled toy activity on the Johnson Pond primary pathway.

Raised planting bed with children’s artwork.

Naturalized fence line with container vegetables.

Sand play area with new pathway.

Local Partnership for Children

Partnership Name: Wake County Smart Start
Partnership Address: 4901 Waters Edge Drive, Suite 101, Raleigh, NC 27606
Partnership Phone: (919) 851-9550
Partnership Website: Visit Website