Cloud Forest School, Costa Rica: Cloud Forest Restoration Project History and Educational Trail Design
In partnership with the Cloud Forest Studio, Dr. Samuel Dennis, ASLA, and undergraduate students worked with the Cloud Forest School in Monteverde, Costa Rica in 2012 and 2013. The Cloud Forest School has been restoring abandoned agricultural land back to native cloud forest ecosystems on 45 acres of degraded cloud forest land purchased from The Nature Conservancy since 1991.
Through interviews, on-site immersion, and participating in restoration work, we developed an oral history and Geographic Information System (GIS) narrative of the Cloud Forest restoration project. We produced interactive GIS maps with descriptions of the project's progress and history, including what species were planted, when plantings occurred, and other relevant ecological information, and a narrative report.
The following year, we returned to the Cloud Forest Studio where we designed and assisted with the implementation of an ecological education trail based on the restoration history of the land.
Grenada & Leon, Nicaragua: Environmental Education and Schoolyard Restoration
In partnership with Colaboracion Ambiental Nicaragua, Dr. Samuel Dennis, ASLA, Dr. Maria Moreno of UW Earth Partnership, and undergraduate students worked with elementary schools in Grenada in 2015 and 2016, assisting with schoolyard restoration and developing materials for place-based environmental education.
We worked closely with the local school district to design and install native plants to both restore the schoolyard (which was, at the time, an unvegetated dirt area) and meet the educational needs of the school. Plant installation work included UW Madison students, local students, and local farmers. We employed the Earth Partnership model, including environmental education lessons with local students.
In Leon, the students worked alongside staff from the Botanical Garden at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua to support the native tree nursery, identify and locate native trees for cuttings, and collect seeds from native species. Students designed and planted an erosion control and stormwater management garden around the main meeting hall.