Genre: Ecological Design, Green STEAM or E-STEM, and Nature Journaling
Age Group for Residencies: Grades K-12, adults
Humans are positive drivers of ecological restoration, with solutions resting in underutilized spaces like urban schoolyards and narrow sidewalk strips. Designing ecological gardens in human spaces is a multi-functional artform. Everywhere you look, there is a canvas of currently mowed lawn waiting to be awakened with pollinators (bees, butterflies, birds, bats, etc.) and 4-season botanical interest. Through a hands-on participatory ecological design process, these spaces become vital grounds for rebounding wildlife populations, while gathering the community in collaborative conservation work.
Ecological design is a Science and an Art. Cross-curricular skills are developed and reflected upon, through grappling with scale and proportion, ecological food webs, “right plant, right place”, site analysis (hydrology, geology, sun/shade patterns, etc.), while learning how to coherently communicate their final proposed planting plan.
In the Schoolyard Habitat residency, students empathize with a critter of choice, design a solution in their schoolyard to meet their habitat needs, and ultimately bring their designs to fruition through a collaborative schoolyard habitat build. Funding is currently provided by the National Wildlife Federation to cover the costs of the native landscape plugs used in the schoolyard habitat plantings for the School District of Lancaster.