Letter from the Chair
by Jena Ponti, ASLA

Spring appears to have come early to Big Sky Country. We’ve had a surprising number of sunny days with bluebird skies. No doubt we will get several more snows storms but I am already daydreaming about…anything green. It is with a serious case of cabin fever, and great pride, that I announce the release of our PPN’s second newsletter.

Our first article is provided with the permission of Karla Christensen, a landscape architect who has spent her professional life designing children’s play and learning landscapes overseas and managing international humanitarian aid projects. She has worked in the war-torn and conflict areas of Albania, Kosovo and Bosnia and currently lives and works in Sri Lanka. Her article is an inspiring description of Kids’ Rock!, a community-driven park project in Banda Aceh, which was devastated by the tsunami of December 2004. Kids’ Rock! was constructed by local hands and with local materials, and is a place where people of all generations can meet, visit, and play.

Laurie Wickencamp, Student ASLA, attended workshops on Project WET, Project WILD, and Project Learning Tree. Laurie shares with us how these projects are used to assess the design of outdoor environments to support environmental learning initiatives. With the passing of the No Child Left Inside Act, landscape architects should become familiar with environmental education programs so that we can help provide schools the settings they need to best foster environmental literacy in our children.

Kay Sales, ASLA, shares two projects designed by her firm, Swire Siegel Landscape Architects. The first of her articles describes how, with the foresight of a long-time property owner, a vacant lot is developed into a dynamic neighborhood park. This park, designed in the “spirit of place,” was largely a volunteer effort and provides a variety of play activities and interpretive and educational opportunities.

Kay’s second article describes her firm’s nature-based philosophy and role as members in a design team tasked with master planning the outdoor spaces for 13 elementary schools in the Alhambra (California) Unified School District.

I’d like to invite more of you to share your experiences, projects, research, and questions with our PPN. We have a passionate group of people in our network and an excellent opportunity to learn from each other. Let’s make the most of it!

I hope this newsletter finds you well.

Jena Ponti, ASLA
Co-Chair, Children’s Outdoor Environments PPN

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Lisa Horne, ASLA, Co-Chair
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