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.


Notes from the Engineer: 2016 Spring Site Survey

Stormwater channel at World C

March 2016 – View of the stormwater channels in the World Garden Commons – Photo by Justin Klabo, PE CFM

Earlier this month, Nick the surveyor walked the channel at World Garden Commons and identified really hard areas (clay sub soil) and very soft areas (remaining topsoil/silt) with Justin, a stormwater engineer at AE2S and Brian a landscape architect from Land Elements​. They walked the centerline of the channel and found varying conditions along the entire length. The conditions varied from vary hard surface (clay areas) to very soft and mucky where there was still topsoil from the grading done last year after the concrete channel was removed.

Last fall, after the concrete channel was removed, we constructed what would be considered a “stable” channel section but we did it with topsoil which is highly erodible.  The material has washed out, creating an “incised” channel.  As the section experiences higher flows, it will start to widen by eating away at the banks, primarily the south side and depositing material in the channel or washing it downstream.  Ultimately we would like to have a channel that has is stable with a low-flow channel but at the same time has a high flow area where the water is able to “spill” out of the banks and into the upland areas (floodplain).


March 2016 – Measuring the stormwater channels in the World Garden Commons – Photo by Justin Klabo, PE CFM


March 2016 – Measuring changes to the stormwater channels in the World Garden Commons – Photo by Justin Klabo, PE CFM