Sustainable Learning Space - Fisheries Courtyard

Estimated Amount to be requested from the CSF: $75,000

Letter of Intent:

To: Campus Sustainability Fund, University of Washington

From: Julia Parrish, Rick Keil, Daniel Winterbottom, Ken Yocom, and Howard Nakase

Re: Letter of Intent – Wallace Hall, Sustainable Learning Space

In 2013, a proposal to build an outdoor classroom "sustainable learning space" for Environmental Studies (Program on the Environment) students on the north lawn of Wallace Hall (formerly Computing and Communications) was born out of the tragic loss of Tikvah Weiner, then PoE Administrator, to breast cancer.  At the end of her life, Tikvah spoke to the PoE community about her desire to see this area used for the benefit of students, as a demonstration of sustainable practices, and as a place where experiential learning would extend beyond classroom walls.

Following Tikvah's passing, a gift fund was established in her honor to help create the garden.  In 2016, students as well as faculty and staff from Landscape Architecture, Program on the Environment, UW Grounds and College of the Environment Dean's Office came together to create an exciting plan to bring Tikvah's garden to fruition.  We envision a garden that:

  • creates an outdoor classroom complete with hardscape elements allowing discussion sections of up to 20 students to use the space for learning "in the green."
  • showcases a series of sustainability features, including the use of "green" (e.g., local, recycled content, natural, sustainable) materials throughout, a rain garden that can accept roof run-off from Wallace Hall, and native and pollinator-based plantings providing habitat and ecosystem services.  Edible elements will be considered, based on input from the campus Landscape Architect and the UW Farm Manager.
  • demonstrates native, drought tolerant and low maintenance landscaping with the flexibility of a cistern-supplied irrigation system for supplemental summer watering.

Landscape Architecture students working with PoE Advisory Board member, Ken Yocom, completed early designs for Tikvah’s garden; thus there is already a basic plan from which to renew and finalize this effort.  Ken has worked with the Campus Landscape Architect, Kristine Kenney and the UW Grounds Manager Howard Nakase to ensure the design meets UW standards and guidelines.

Starting in Winter 2017, the Landscape Architecture Design-Build class taught by Daniel Winterbottom will be tackling the final design of this space.  The Program on the Environment students working under a special topics offering of Sustainability Studio will be working on the sustainable program elements of the garden, in conjunction with the Landscape Architecture students in the design-build program.  During Spring 2017, these students will actively construct the garden.  In total, we anticipate a minimum of 30 students will be directly involved in the creation of Tikvah's garden.  Once built, the garden space will be used by Program on the Environment classes meeting in Wallace Hall, experienced by hundreds of students daily as they circulate through the space during class changes, and serve as part of the "western gateway" onto the campus.

With CSF funding, this project, and these students, will have the ability to significantly add to the program as originally conceived by incorporating sustainable design elements that will feature cost effective stormwater management and water quality practices.

This is an ambitious endeavor, and with strong student leadership and mentoring from several faculty and senior staff, will be a successful and sustainable project.  To that end, the faculty and staff on this LOI have collectively pledged to:

  • directly mentor students involved in the design and creation of the garden (Winterbottom)
  • facilitate intern and sustainability capstone projects connected to the design and creation of the garden (Keil)
  • provide basic support services to the space so that students will be successful in achieving their design efforts (Nakase)
  • provide funding for a TA to assist students in the design-build process and act as a convener bringing all parties together (Parrish)

At this point, we estimate a very preliminary budget of $100K for the entire project, of which we have raised $25,000 in private funds to help cover materials, and potential funding to help cover the cost of TAs needed to help the students realize their work (CoEnv - guarantee of one TA; LA - will potentially cover a second TA).  We will be requesting the balance amount of approximately $75,000 in costs from the CSF for the materials, plants and vehicle rental needed to complete the work.

The current point of contact for the project is:

Julia K Parrish

Associate Dean, Academic Affairs, College of the Environment


Primary Contact First & Last Name: Rick Keil