A Winnipeg constructed wetland: inciting curiosity, facilitating learning and fostering engagement

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Macdonald, Ian
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In urban areas, traditional lake-style retention ponds do little to remediate pollutants such as sediments, pesticides and fertilizers contained in stormwater. As an alternative, some neighborhoods now feature naturalized constructed wetlands, often located in large open public spaces such as schoolyards. These settings can offer opportunity for physical engagement and education. Can these constructed wetlands function both as stormwater detention facilities and outdoor classrooms? If teachers can foster engagement and curiosity, learning becomes intrinsic - an end in itself rather than a means to short term reward. Landscapes can be a means to this end, providing open-ended and meaningful learning opportunities that can inspire children to learn, play and discover. The intent of this practicum is to redesign an existing, lake-style retention pond adjacent to a south Winnipeg schoolyard, integrating ecological, recreational and educational functions. The pond will be transformed into a functioning wetland ecosystem, community amenity and outdoor classroom.
Retention pond