The Sustainability Learning Space is a collaborative project between PoE and LA, incorporating input from wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ and the UW Farm. It involves students, staff and faculty; alumni and donors. We are a collective with a vision of sustainable landscape across campus. We start with the "backyard" of the Program on the Environment. Students have led, and continue to lead, in design of the project. Students will also lead in building the project; and ultimately in its use. Finally, students will work cooperatively with staff in site maintenance. Once built, the garden space will be used by Program on the Environment classes meeting in Wallace Hall, Landscape Architecture studios focusing on sustainable design, and experienced by hundreds of people daily as they circulate through the space during class changes, and serve as part of the "western gateway" onto the campus.
Students involved in this project include:
Landscape Architecture (LA): Under the direction of Professor Daniel Winterbottom and Teaching Assistant Victoria (Tori) Shao, 14 undergraduate and graduate students have enrolled in a two quarter (Winter-Spring 2017) design-build studio (LA474/475) focused on this project. The LA students will take the lead on design and construction with input and support from students in PoE and other collaborators. Tori will lead the presentation of this project to the CSF.
At present, the LA students are in the initial stages of design and have only just (26 January 2017) presented their first round of designs to the PoE community. Strong elements from these initial designs will be brought forward into an integrated design plan, to be presented to the PoE community on 10 February 2017. (Prior to that design review, there is a planned feedback session for CSF, to make sure that sustainability element is beyond those highlighted by PoE students can be strengthened, if necessary).
Program on the Environment (PoE): With support from Director Professor Rick Keil and teaching faculty Sean McDonald, Beth Wheat and Kristi Straus, 10 PoE students have been meeting with the LA students to help deepen the sustainability and ecosystem services aspects of the project, as well as provide direct input on how PoE students would use the space for learning activities. In total, we estimate a minimum of 12 PoE students will interact with this project in the design phase, with additional involvement during the build phase. In particular, Tessarae Mercer, Franny Olson, Jenna Duncan and Kate Vachon have already attended the LA Design-Build studio class to provide feedback on garden uses. Franny is an active UW Farmer who wants to integrate edible elements to create better connectivity to PoE. Tessarae is also active with the UW Farm. She sees interesting opportunity to incorporate permaculture practices in the Wallace garden. Jenna and Kate are interested in environmental education. They see the Wallace garden as a demonstration space to focus on mindfulness activities. At the first Design Review (26 January 2017), these PoE students as well as staff, faculty and alumni, attended and provided feedback. These students, and others, will be involved in refining the sustainability elements of the final garden design. Crucially, PoE students and staff will also identify, develop, and implement a maintenance plan with support from students in LA and the Grounds Services program through UW Facilities Maintenance and Construction.
UW Farm: Under the direction of Farm Manager Sarah Geurkink and with support from teaching faculty Beth Wheat, students involved with the UW Farm (and particularly with the Mercer Court facility, and secondarily with the native pollinator project at the UWBG Urban Horticulture site) will provide input on edibility and pollinator habitat functions of the garden, and help LA student designers realize larger landscape connections to the UW Farm, especially including the Mercer Court gardens, which already provide visitors with learning and gleaning opportunities.
wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ: Under the direction of Ross Braine and with support from Emeritus Professor Tom Hinckley, students will work with the LA student designers to help realize extension of culturally significant plantings and garden spaces begun around wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ to highlight and celebrate culturally significant plants and habitats, and the connection of local indigenous peoples to native flora.
This garden has been many years in the making, and many students who have played key roles have graduated. We mention a few here:
LA Studio (LA504): Led by Ken Yocom in the weeks before the passing of Tikvah Weiner, these 14 students worked with the entire PoE community to bring Tikvah's wishes for the creation of a garden celebrating students and sustainability to life. Working from lists of attributes created by PoE students, staff and faculty, initial designs were presented to the PoE community and friends/family of Tikvah. These designs were later coalesced into a single conceptual design by then students Patrick Pirtle, Mafida Takkeidine and Keising Yu, working with Ken Yocom and then PoE Director Claire Ryan, with RA funding from both CoEnv and PoE. It is this design that has formed the starting point of the current Design-Build Studio effort.
Future students involved in this project: The garden will be integrated into the educational curriculum of PoE and LA to facilitate formal learning opportunities (see below). In addition, the garden will act as a literal gateway to the Fisheries buildings, providing many students with the opportunity to learn "along the way." This function will be augmented as the South and West Campus plans are fully implemented, and this garden grows to incorporate a much larger green space extending to the water. It is our hope that pre-emptive design of this sustainability showcase will provoke a similar e?ort across this larger space, allowing us to truly realize the "stacked functions" of water management, native habitat and ecosystem services, cultural use and celebration, edibility, education, and most honestly - joy.
Finally, the LA students have already reached out to the new childcare facility located adjacent to the Brooklyn Parking Garage (less than one block from the garden) to speak with caregivers about potential uses of the garden to preschoolers.