When I got a call from Amy Bell, lead Landscape Architect at Groundwork Studio, about providing a high school with water harvesting activities, I couldn’t resist. Look at that rooftop on the south side of the school building, draining onto an gravel-covered opportunity site!
A project-based curriculum for high schools, Water Harvesting on Site, is one of the results. Initiated in early 2017 at at ACE Leadership High School in Albuquerque, we developed a set of activities that guide students through the main steps of designing with rainwater. We also provided a conceptual landscape plan for part of the school campus that would sink stormwater into earthworks (basin, swale, berm) for landscaping plants and store it in a water catchment tank for a garden bed.
The preliminary curriculum is now offered to educators who are interested in integrating Earth Sciences, Mathematics and Design lessons on a school campus or other local site. The focus is on the place where students go almost every day, where they can relate to stormwater as a resource for growing food gardens and healthy landscapes.
The curriculum is aimed at project-based programs where instructional support and materials can be provided. The activities can be connected to STEM standards (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), plus Art! In addition to project-based learning, this could work for an independent study program or even home schooling.
Considering the children and youth in this age of climate change, we need to generate on-the-ground experiences that connect rainwater, soil, and plants, leading to resilient landscapes.
- Site – Observe and Map Water Flows
- Site – Assess Rooftop Water Supply
- Site – Assess Soil Drainage
- Site – Survey contours
- Site Summary: Landscape design – mapping
- Environment: Watersheds and Drainage
- Environment: Precipitation and Climate
- Environment: Plants and Water Demand
- Design Strategies: Water Storage
- Design Strategies: Earthworks
- Design Strategy: Soil enrichment
- Option: Design project
Educators who are interested in reviewing the curriculum can contact Joanne McEntire on the Contact Page. Please note your school or organization, and location.