landED: landscape + education
By the landED team: Jane Hilder, Krista Renwick + Darcy Granove
As Canadians, our best childhood memories take place in the great outdoors. We remember skating on the river until we couldn’t feel our toes or exploring our neighbourhood’s parks and trails, searching for shade on the hottest summer days. The identity we found in our surroundings as children is a key factor to maintaining mental and physical health in our adult lives. With most Canadians living in urban centres, the importance of seeking out these natural spaces is even greater. By establishing robust outdoor education programs in schools, we can help students develop habits of understanding, comfort, and access to nature, improving long-term quality of life. In 2020, Manitoba-based design firm Little Bluestem Landscape Architecture + Design established the landED environmental education program to share a passion for the naturehuman connection.
The primary goal of landED is to build and maintain a relationship between education and the landscape. The guiding tenets of landscape architecture are the same as those that make good social citizens: consideration of environment and culture, natural resource management, mental and physical health advocacy, and social equity.
To this end, landED’s programming refocuses environmental education for youth through the lens of design. Activities inspired by landscape architecture offer students insight into the design process of landscape space and create a sense of personal agency to improve their physical surroundings and build community. landED began with our Teaching Tuesday series, short videos demonstrating outdoor activities for learning at home or school, alone or together. COVID-19 restrictions were a catalyst for Teaching Tuesday’s inception. Through Teacher’s Guides to Outdoor Learning (free content published seasonally on the website), educators have tools and resources to feel comfortable taking their classes outdoors in all seasons, establishing nature as an extension of the classroom.
By the landED team: Jane Hilder, Krista Renwick + Darcy Granove http://www.littlebluestemla.com/landed