Artist Leads Planning for Fifth-Grade WeDesign Charrette

File Mar 25, 4 12 33 PM

Planning team includes the Park District, Soil and Conservation District, River Keepers, NDSU research, artists, an architect, landscape architects, educators, and engineers.

March 2016 – Dwight Mickelson, lead artist for the Listening Garden at World Garden Commons, the pilot site of The Fargo Project, led a meeting of educators, engineers, landscape architects, artists and conservationists.

Dwight started the meeting with a listening experience using an audio clip recorded of the wildlife within a wetland near his home at sunset (Listen 1:57). He asked the group to listen for the exact moment the sun dipped below the horizon. To occupy their hands, and make a tactile connection to the conversation, he gave each person a leaf to hold, twist, stroke or shape the duration of the planning meeting.

Dwight and the multi-disciplinary group are challenged with developing activities and lessons to introduce students to the World Garden Commons site, prepare activities to inventory the environment, and introduce concepts of ecological restoration, stormwater management and natural play. The onsite activities will lead to a WeDesign Charrette engaging the creative forces of Fifth-Graders from Westside Elementary School this spring.

Charrette – collaborative, intense, and includes diverse group of participants focused to generate a solution.

Natural Play intuitive and unstructured, constructive (or deconstructive), and timeless, encouraging interaction with natural materials, features, indigenous vegetation, and creative landforms. Natural Play is often a blend of materials and experiences to create purposely complex interplays of natural and environmental objects.

Check back for updates on the activities at World Garden Commons and Westside Elementary.

Volunteers Needed! Can you lead/assist a 5th grade activity station outside at World Garden Commons on April 21 7:00AM-2:00PM? Contact Jessica at River Keepers (701) 235-2895 if interested.


Pilgrimage to Elders’ Cove

“….we are not separate from our soils, waters, and air – nor are we, in truth, separate from one another”
12-27-2015 Banyan Tree Elder's Cove Dreher Park Cali Anicha

Photograph by Cali Anicha – Elders’ Cove sculpture emulates the aerial roots of nearby Banyan tree

I went to visit one of Jackie Brookner’s earlier works in a place called Dreher Park in West Palm Beach, Florida. Jackie Brookner (1945-2015) worked on the Dreher Park project in 2003-04, with Angelo Ciotti, to revamp the Park’s water flow and flood control systems consisting of eight acres of inter-connecting lakes and retention ponds.

I didn’t know I was on a pilgrimage until we drove into the park.  As I walked toward the large pond named Elders’ Cove an almost surreal sensation enveloped me and I began to tear up…  When I reached the plaque that described the site I was snuffling loudly enough to gather a few curious sidelong glances from some children on the nearby boardwalk.  The inscription helped me realize what was happening for me – the final line reads:  “The water, the plants and animals, the birds, the frogs and fish, and we too, are all interconnected parts of a larger whole.”

12-27-2015 Elder's Cove Dreher Park Lynn Fundingsland

Photograph by Lynn Fundingsland – Elders’ Cove at Dreher Park

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