In the Fall of 2006, CYE embarked on a participatory project, pairing undergraduate students with elementary school children at Creekside Elementary School in Boulder. This project was part of a new course titled, Participatory Community Planning: Urban Agriculture, offered as an upper level course in the Environmental Design Program on the CU-Boulder campus. Twelve students, from a variety of majors, learned theories of children’s participation and landscape design, and received hands-on experience working with the community. Our students and Creekside co-created a masterplan that will guide the transformation of the school’s courtyard into an ecological outdoor classroom that will be used to teach existing curriculum and inspire new learning opportunities. We developed the process to include activities with nearly all of the Creekside students in order to engage the children in the design of their own courtyard. Activities such as reading stories related to nature; going on a child-led tour of the schoolyard; and sing natural treasures, such as flowers and shells, all helped inspire the design. Tangible results of the course include the construction and installation of a worm bin for composting and a booklet containing a complete record of the participatory process as well as a copy of the final concept plan.
The CYE team consisted of PhD students Ian, Illène and Debra.