A mosaic of micro-landscapes: Finding a future in environmental education
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This document represents the practicum research and proposed design work conducted within Grand Rapids, Manitoba. The site selected for design intervention is a 350 x 150 m abandoned borrow pit, southwest of the Grand Rapids townsite. Created by Manitoba Hydro during the 1960’s construction of the Grand Rapids Generating Station, this borrow pit has been left to natural succession for over half a century. At the time of this writing, the site has undergone no official rehabilitation procedures, practices which are now legally required by Manitoba Hydro. As such, the borrow pit represents a unique nature, both disturbed and untouched- an opportunity to explore rehabilitation practices and their potential to intertwine with community engagement; specifically, the elementary curriculum of Grand Rapids School. The borrow pit itself was identified as an area of interest through extensive regional studies and site analysis, compounded with research regarding the community of Grand Rapids. Once the site was identified, drone surveys were conducted in the spring, summer, and winter seasons of 2016-2019, in tandem with ground photography and analysis. Drone documentation resulted in detailed aerial imagery, precise contour data, and a point cloud recreation of the site in virtual space. The extensive surveillance of the site was crucial in identifying and understanding the existing conditions. Through this understanding, the potential for the site to become a space for outdoor education was revealed, and it was possible to develop a well-informed site design. The resulting design represents a proposed future for the borrow pit, in which nature may find a new form within a disturbed site, and the students of Grand Rapids may find an opportunity to engage in environmental education.