Nature Based Playspaces


Ellen Hopkins Elementary School Moorhead: Nature Play Space

The EHES Moorhead Nature Play Space project uniquely represented an integration of nature-based play with many other concepts that are at the forefront of community sustainability and resilience in the design including accessibility, equity, environmental art, water education and community gardening. The project also advanced the idea of intergenerational community engagement and the use of design education with the participation of students in the development of the design. The project is intended to benefit students of Ellen Hopkins Elementary School, their families, neighbors and the Moorhead community. Reconnection of children to nature and creating a thriving place where students and community members experience an alternative to traditional playgrounds and play areas were important goals for the project. It is also intended to engage the same community in the care and tending of the nature play space, community garden and orchard, thus learning environmental stewardship in practical ways. The intended outcomes of the project were:

• The development of a master plan to inform the future development of the nature play space

• Engagement of the students, PTAC and parents and Moorhead community in the design/input process

• Integration of arts and environmental education in the process


Time Period:

January 2016 - June 2016


CSBR Project Leads:

Virajita Singh, Senior Research Fellow, Center for Sustainable Building Research

Alexander Thill, Graduate Research Assistant, Master of Landscape Architecture, Department of Landscape Architecture, College of Design