We've been following the progress of five middle school students from in the past few months as they work toward putting a plan into action for the development of Mahler Park in Enumclaw.
The students have set a good foundation for collaboration after ; they've ; they've and on Thursday they each presented a plan they drafted for the park to the Park Board for initial critique and feedback before they return to school and consolidate those plans into one cohesive plan to be presented next month.
We regret we missed this meeting but thank school founder Roger Franklin for passing along some notes from teacher Marie Riley about what went down Thursday.
According to Riley, each of the students (Jose Garcia, Clint Larrea, Shelby Porter, Clara Gerken and Atticus Chous) took their turn presenting their plans and board members asked questions and made comments and suggestions following each presentation.
There were several common themes running through the students' individual presentations: a desire to honor the Muckleshoot Tribe's history and culture as it relates to the park by including some sort of cultural center to provide information for visitors; adding a playground that includes recreational options like picnics and barbeques but the playground would aim to stimulate thought and learning as much as physical play; incorporating well-marked trails to keep visitors off the fragile ecosystem and guide them efficiently through the park; and posting informational signs along to trail for learning opportunities.
Some students thought there shouldn't be stairs as part of the trail system in order to encourage mixed use (bikes, strollers, etc), while others opted for stairs to assist moving over areas with quick-changing elevation.
One student suggested an interactive trail guide that requires a visitor have a smart phone in order to view multimedia and more information about a specific location or type of wildlife. Another included consideration for wheelchair accessibility.
Board members were consistently complimentary of the students, their work, knowledge and skills, wrote Riley. The students spent about half of the last month working on the Mahler Park project and the other half on projects to address Washington state learning standards, Riley said.
Members of the public are welcome to view the students' plans in detail at the Cedar River Academy campus at 3333 Griffin Avenue.