Land Restoration for Nature-Based Education

Anna Kong

Discovery Park

I will research native species in the Seattle Magnolia neighborhood and study how they can be used in landscape design that supports nature-based education. This research will inform my architectural thesis, “A Nature-based High School” located on private property within Discovery Park.

The site is located within a 534 acre park on the Puget Sound. The Magnolia neighborhood, where the park is located, is on the peninsula of Seattle, surrounded by Elliott Bay, the Puget Sound, and the Salmon Bay Canal. The neighborhood is composed almost entirely of housing, besides a small, two-block commercial area, a school, and the park itself.  The entire park was previously owned by the military, which established the base in 1897, but in 2005 ownership was given to the city of Seattle. Currently, the park has 7 miles of beach on the Puget Sound and several miles of trails for public recreation. The main part of the park sits on a plateau that is 325 feet above sea level, which creates incredibly steep bluffs down to the beach. The area, about 8 acres, underwent most change from the military presence through the clearing of trees and still has several buildings remaining. 

It is my proposal that the restoration project be embedded as part of the outdoor high school curriculum. Students will focus on a single area to work on throughout their four years in high school. The restoration projects could range from retention ponds to planting trees or shrubs, with the goal of providing a wide variety of restoration projects to teach from. I will research additional sources for best practices in landscape design for educational purposes. After researching restoration methods and best practices for nature education, I will propose a landscape design for the military base.