Student Environmental Education & Discovery (SEED)
The purpose of the Student Environmental Education and
Discovery (SEED) Wildlife Garden is to keep the dedicated vision of our garden creators alive by providing an additional place for visitor learning and enjoyment. The central focus is birdlife, seen as a marker of a healthy, diverse ecosystem of native plants and animals — especially small critters attractive to children.
The redesigned Children’s Garden at Wing Haven provides a space for intensive production in raised beds. In-ground beds throughout the space include permanent edibles, including fruiting shrubs and trees. If desired, vertical gardens can be installed in these production plots as well.
The expanded SEED Wildlife Garden and Children’s Garden at Wing Haven are designed to support SEED preschool and K-12 education and other community-based education programs, including home schoolers and scouts, as well as to attract informal visits by the general public. For the entire project, settings include:
● Entry Garden
● Bird and Wildlife Edible Garden
● Natural, Looped Pathway
● Natural Den
● Water Pump with Dry Stream Bed and Rain Garden
● Tree House/Bird Observatory
● Storytelling Circle
● Earth Play and Learning
● Outdoor Classroom (Pavilion)
● Bird-Feeding Station
● Nature Play
● Pollinator Garden
● Green Tunnel
● Ozone Garden
● Gathering space
● Chicken Garden
● Raised Bed Gardening
● Outdoor food preparation
Physical Space and Project Elements
OUTDOOR CLASSROOM & TREEHOUSE
In the center of the SEED Wildlife Garden, visitors and program participants can enjoy a covered pavilion and outdoor classroom to engage in environmental education programs, camp activities, and workshops. This outdoor classroom includes child-size, mobile furniture for teaching, crafting, and hands-on experimentation, as well as ample storage for educational materials. The two-level Treehouse/Bird Observatory provides an overlook across the SEED Wildlife Garden and over the garden’s historic wall.
In addition to the Outdoor Classroom and Treehouse, a number of other Activity Centers make up the SEED Wildlife Garden and Children’s Garden: Natural Den, Green Tunnel, Water Pump and Dry Stream Bed, Storytelling Circle, Earth Play, Nature Play, Chicken Coop and Gardening, and Raised Bed Gardening.
A child-size den made of natural material sits just off a path and invites the child to crawl in.
A plant-covered, Green Tunnel offers an exciting, mysterious detour off the pathway – allowing young visitors to see the underside of plants and imagine they are a bug or a small critter burrowing in the ground.
Water Pump and Dry Stream Bed
A hand pump with an underground reservoir is situated on a splash-pad of flagstones with gravel in-between, allowing the water to feed a shallow dry creek bed for play and observation. The dry creek bed terminates in a rain garden that provides educational opportunities to learn about sustainable water treatment.
A storyteller’s bench overlooks stumps and logs for seating arranged to accommodate 20 or more children. The circle is enclosed with plantings to provide a feeling of enclosure.
Earth Play and Natural Play Areas
Interacting with the surface of planet Earth is a fundamental first step to gaining an experiential understanding of human dependency on soil. Across the path from this ample space for digging and mucking in the mud, logs, stumps, and rocks set into the ground provide opportunities for balancing and scrambling. Natural loose parts provide for natural construction of forts and other play structures. Metal armature embedded in the ground creates a base for the child- sized nest building with natural materials. Giant bird eggs add to the excitement and imagination.
Chicken Coop and Gardening
The chicken garden provides a space for the children to interact with animals, teaching them about the role they play in sustainable garden practices. Fruit trees and planting beds provide additional treats for the chickens to snack on.
Raised Bed Gardening
Ten or more well-made, raised gardening beds anchor the children’s garden area, which also includes an outdoor kitchen with a sink and prep counters.
At entryways and overlooking the raised beds, pergolas with edible and flowering vines providing shade. Comfortable seating with poetic inscriptions on their backs face the historical fountain and provide a place for families or groups to meet. A covered informational display board for garden communications sits at the entrance.
Brick pathways extended from the historic garden into the Children’s Garden provide clear walkways in and around the raised bed gardening and seating areas. An inscribed stone occupies the center of the gathering entry expressing a quote or poetry capturing the essence of the place, similar to those that Mrs. Clarkson thoughtfully placed around the garden. Strategically placed boulders allow children to climb and build upon in the Natural Play area.
Upgrading and enhancing an existing bathroom outside of the Foundation Office, provides two bathroom stalls, including a handicap accessible stall, a changing table station, and a sink.
DESIGN, BUILD, MAINTENANCE
The current space requires a thorough and careful removal of existing natural debris, grading work, and landscape design. Additionally, upgrades to irrigation, plumbing, and electrical are necessary to support the Rain Garden, Water Pump and Dry Stream Bed, as well as the Outdoor Classroom. Signage for visitor benefit and educational purposes will be posted throughout the space. Paneling to protect the historic walls provide exhibit space displaying children’s creative work. Fencing and screening provide safety from work areas and privacy for neighbors.
With the outdoor classroom, new educational materials such as microscopes, magnifying glasses, binoculars, nets, water quality testing kits, bug viewers, naturalist manipulative materials and the like fill the storage closets ready for use during programming.
PLANT MATERIAL, BEDDING, PATHWAYS
From the raised beds to the herb garden to the winding pathways to the Rain Garden to the Storytelling Circle to the Green Tunnel, a variety of plant material will anchor the garden. Plant material provides food and habitat for birds and wildlife, attracts butterflies, larval forms, and many
other insects, and provides beauty and exploration for visitors.