Corcoran Environmental Education Center

Syracuse, New York

Professors RobinHoffman and Kathy Stribley; Visiting Instructor Wendy Andringa; Maren King, 2004-2005

In the Fall of 2005 the third year undergraduate studio worked with members of the Corcoran High School community to develop plans for an environmental education center. The goal of the center is to offer opportunities for students to learn about ecology and natural processes through experience and observation. It is also intended to serve for passive recreational and environmental education for the larger community.

The landscape architecture students conducted a series of discussions with Corcoran students, faculty, parents and neighbors to understand the desires, concerns and values of the various groups affected by the educational center. They then synthesized and represented this information in another series of meetings for further feedback and discussion with the community. ESF students used the contributions from the community members along with their own in-depth analysis of environmental, historical and social aspects of the site to develop programs and concepts for their designs. Community comments on the conceptual design alternatives were coded and analyzed to determine preferences and uses that should guide the next stage of project development.

In the Spring of 2005, graduate student Samuel Gordon continued to work with science faculty to investigate and evaluate alternative locations for the environmental education center. A project report summarizing the process, outcomes, and possible next steps, as well as a comprehensive project notebook were prepared to facilitate community decision making and implementation of the educational center.

Through the service-learning project, ESF students practiced skills in site analysis, design development and facilitation of community participation. They also learned how an engaged community could guide and inform the design process.


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