The current generation of young people in North America spends less time outside than any generation in history, and this growing disconnect between people and nature is leading to a wide range of social, public health and environmental issues. As we look to a future in which more than 90% of North Americans will be living in urban areas by the year 2050, engaging outdoor learning environments and natural play spaces provide an increasingly essential point of connection for young people to interact with nature.
In the effort to create the sustainable and nature-rich cities of the future, there is also a great need to inspire the current generation of young people to play an active role in designing, building and maintaining great outdoor spaces in our urban and suburban environments. The Come Alive Outside Design Challenge creates the opportunity for teams of landscape professionals, post-secondary and secondary students to work closely with local community members to design nature back into our lives!
Wentworth Landscapes is hosting teams of landscape architecture and landscape design students from Seneca College, Ryerson University, and Niagara Parks School of Horticulture. They will participate in a design charrette with elementary and high school studets, and community leaders in Prince Edward County to create initial concepts for a natural play area at Massassaga-Rednersville Public School and the adjoining HUB Child Care Centre.
The students will be challenged to create a design for a natural learning environment that meets the following criteria:
- The design encourages interaction with the space using all five senses.
- The design integrates the creative input of the students and teachers who will use it.
- The design creates a Certified Wildlife Habitat as outlined by the Canadian Wildlife Federation.
- The design effectively manages and utilizes rainwater.
- The initial phase of the design can be built on a budget of $10,000.
Students will be presenting their initial concepts at the Regent Theatre, Picton, on October 22nd from 9:30 – 11:30am. The open event is an opportunity for the students to receive feedback from the community. Once college students return home they will have two months to finalize their design. A panel of landscape professionals will judge the submissions and the winner will be announced at the annual Awards of Excellence at Landscape Ontario Congress.
Come Alive Outside and Landscape Ontario will support the school in securing the funds for building out the initial phase of the winning designs.
Come Alive Outside (CAO) is a non-profit organization that works to engage landscape professionals as part of collaborative community systems that create the awareness, intention and opportunity for people to live healthier lives outside. CAO has produced the Design Challenge program in 13 communities across the United States and Canada over the past three years.
The Come Alive Outside Design Challenge in Prince Edward County is in partnership with Landscape Ontario, Wentworth Landscapes, Prince Edward County, The Hub Child & Family Centre, and Massassaga-Rednersville Public School.
Click here to watch a video of a previous Come Alive Outside Design Challenge in Oklahoma.