Joe Hirz, Landscape Designer and Fairhill parent, along with Fairhill administration, staff, PTA, and numerous community partners, propose an ecological design project at Fairhill Elementary where students can strengthen their connection to the natural world through a thoughtful and sustainable design of outdoor learning spaces surrounded by functioning ecological systems.
To create a sustainable environment on the Fairhill Elementary School grounds, and foster a connection to nature with the Fairhill students, families, teachers and community members, through the following design objectives:
The Design Program:
- Restore ecological function by creating a schoolyard habitat through the use of a native plant pallet to attract wildlife and pollinators to the school grounds, improve soil health, increase biodiversity, and decrease traditional maintenance and mowing.
- Implement stormwater management practices to address soil erosion and standing water issues on the playground. Reduce the quantity of stormwater run-off and improve water quality released to Accotink Creek, through the creation of a rain garden and meadow strip around storm drains on the playground.
- Create a resource for incorporation of various ecological design elements, such as ecological function, wildlife habitats, biodiversity, healthy soils, watershed awareness, and stewardship to compliment Virginia Science Standards of Learning and Project Base Learning objectives for Fairhill teachers, and ultimately provide rich learning experiences to the students.