Wetlands and Stewardship Project
The Delridge Wetlands, located on 23rd Ave SW and SW Findlay St, is a project spearheaded by DNDA to protect, restore, preserve and expand the existing wetland to improve water quality in Longfellow Creek, meanwhile developing the space as a public park for all to enjoy. Beside wetland restoration, other plans for the park include the creation of an urban garden, community orchard, as well as developing the space as an outdoor classroom for local students and the community to learn hands-on environmental science and wetland stewardship.
Designing the Delridge Wetland Park
Kicking off the design process, our partners at Pomegranate Center began developing the first draft of their master plan in May 2017. This process relied heavily on input from the project’s partners and included two day-long design forums as well as a third forum with local educators. Partners of the Delridge Wetlands and Stewardship Project include Seattle Green Spaces Coalition, Seattle City Light, Seattle Public Utilities, Louisa Boren STEM K-8, Duwamish Alive Coalition, National Park Service, Tilth Alliance, City Fruit, and Solid Ground.
Strengthening DNDA’s relationship with local educators, Pomegranate Center created a curriculum that would enable students at Louisa Boren STEM K-8 to contribute to the Wetlands design plan through science experiments, art projects and presenting their projects at school. A class of both fifth and third graders studied wetland water function by testing water quality and different substrates, while two other third grade classes focused on studying plants, animal habitats and human activity. These topics included science experiments such as using a homemade clinometer to measure tree heights, testing soil quality, studying plant biofiltration capacity by observing water uptake in celery stalks, and researching specific needs for local wildlife habitats.
After conducting their experiments, students continued to create their personal vision of the Delridge Wetlands through clay models. Students were given a map of what the Delridge Wetlands currently looks like and used clay to redesign the space using their new knowledge of water features, plants and habitats.
Wrapping up the experiments and activities, students were able to share their findings at Louisa Boren K-8’s school-wide Project Based Learning Night. Meanwhile, DNDA was also tabling at the event to showcase the students’ findings, provide information about the Delridge Wetlands and invite families to the community-wide design open house that took place at DNDA’s Youngstown Cultural Arts Center on June 15, 2017. This open house provided Delridge Wetlands partners with valuable community feedback in response to Pomegranate Center’s initial designs that consisted of 3 alternative plans. This essential community feedback, combined with input from local students and educators, will allow our design team to create a master plan for the Delridge Wetlands that encompasses all of our collective visions.
We are pleased to have so many community members already planning to contribute their time and energy volunteering to help clean up the site, to participate in sheet mulching the site and to participate in removal of invasive species on the perimeter of the proposed park site. To connect to the project and to volunteer for work parties please contact Caroline Borsenik, DNDA’s Environmental Programs Director.
Creating an Outdoor Classroom
We are creating a strong connection with our local area schools. Our work with schools focuses on classroom visits to the site. Staff of DNDA and our contractors have gone into the classrooms and presented information on the project, the role of wetlands in the watershed and how water moves throughout the region. Outdoor Classroom Design has worked directly with teachers to develop Lesson Plans, developed activities for the site visits to expand upon classroom instruction, and together Outdoor Classroom Design and DNDA have supported specific projects with the students that have been unveiled at Project Based Learning Night at STEM.
Our Louisa Boren STEM students participate in and monitor different aspects of the Delridge Wetland Park’s ecological restoration. Each grade has a different curricular goal illustrating wetland function and recovery.
- Our 3rd graders explore what conditions make a wetland and how plants and water interact to make a unique ecosystem.
- Our 4th graders explore erosion and storm water dynamics on a watershed scale as they are relevant to salmon and the health of our wetland.
- Our 5th graders monitor and interpret the progress of ecosystem restoration at the wetland, share this information with other students, community and future classes.
Examples of student work:
Our 5th graders at Louisa Boren STEM have been a part of rebuilding the Delridge Wetland Park for the past three years. Their research projects can be found here.
Follow the Delridge Wetland Park on Instagram to see how local students are using the Delridge Wetland Park as an outdoor classroom for hands-on environmental science lessons.
Wetlands Project Partners
Wetlands Project Funders
King County Conservation Future Programs
King County Green Grants