Originally appears in the Winter 2017 issue
ERNEST C. WONG recalls a youth that never focused on the outdoors. That changed at the age of 15 when Wong, the son of Chinese immigrants growing up in a predominantly African-American neighborhood in Chicago in the late 1960s, became a volunteer with the Student Conservation Association (SCA), a nonprofit that puts young people to work on environmental projects. He learned to build trails at North Cascades National Park and how to find his place in the world. Today, Wong is a landscape architect with his own award-winning firm and serves on the board of directors of SCA.
Wong, and several other landscape architects, want to connect students—particularly those living in underserved communities—to the outdoors and show them that they can make an impact on protecting the environment. They want to help teachers integrate landscape architecture into their environmental education curriculum through hands-on activities that incorporate the outdoors and introduce students to the work of people who design the public spaces they enjoy. See two such activities at the end of this article, and try them out with your students.
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