DELRIDGE WETLAND PARK

A Community Outdoor Classroom

SW Findlay St. and 23rd Ave SW, Seattle, WA

Located one block from STEM K-8 school at the heart of Delridge neighborhood in Seattle, this wetland park also functions as an outdoor classroom, community gathering space and urban agriculture demonstration garden. Managed by the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, this design is a collaboration between Convene pllc, Gaynor Inc. and Outdoor Classroom Design. Begun in 2017, the project functioned as an outdoor classroom from the start, with programming and construction developing as permitting and site conditions would allow. We initially engaged 120 students from STEM K-8 grades 3rd and 5th in wetland ecology and design activities. We have continued outdoor science programming at the wetland for grades 2-5.

PROCESS

This work began with student exploration and continues with the sharing of learning and love for this wetland classroom. Students first engaged the space through art, poetry and song, then spent time in classrooms with hands on experiments demonstrating water retention in soils and plant transpiration. With scientific knowledge of how a wetland can reduce and clean storm runoff, student designs for the wetland park already contained many of the same features expert designers would add. The most popular design solutions were long sinuous channels to slow water, plants for bioremediation and a quiet ‘island’ gathering space for reflection. Charettes with teachers and important community stakeholders gave the park its final shape, but the concepts developed by students remained strong. Over the years students and community volunteers have installed over 1500 wetland plants and the park remains a favorite destination on STEM K-8 Project Based Learning Nights for students to bring families and share their knowledge.

Cleaning water for Salmon | Growing food for people | Spaces for teaching, gathering and learning
This final design captures and cleans street runoff before entering the sensitive wetland, provides a classroom sized gathering space, a perimeter trail, and an urban farm demonstration garden.

Additional Lessons, Activities, Curriculum

Outdoor Classroom Design offered support and educational programing for three years post design phase, bringing 2nd-5th grade classes to the Delridge Wetland Park on a monthly basis. Much of the programming developed a knowledge base for placing wetland plants in proper water environments and the dynamics that form and maintain wetland soils. In 2019, as a culmination of three years of study, 5th grade students made this website featuring Scientific Research, Wetland Literature Research and Community Impacts at the Delridge Wetland Park. Check out some of our other activities in the links below or go straight to the Sample Lessons and Curriculum page!