The earth’s environment and natural resources are continuing to diminish and die due to the lack of education on the importance of sustainability. Children are the seeds of our future, and if we want them to fully flourish, we must put forth the initiative to educate them about these issues during their childhood development. Lauren Davis, a senior interior design student at The Ohio State University, has always been passionate about nature and the environment. For her senior interior design thesis, she wanted to create a space that educates people about the importance of conservation. She created “Flourish"—an environmental education center for children that teaches them about sustainability and environmental stewardship.
“If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, then let us allow them to love the Earth before we ask them to save it.” This quote by David Sobel, an environmental educator and author, really inspired Lauren Davis’ thesis concept.
“Flourish” is an after-school program where school-aged children aged 4 to 12 can go to learn and play while their parents are still at work. The building would contain features such as a green roof, skylights, and solar panels, as a great example of sustainable building practices. There are interactive walls where children can take part in hands-on learning experiences in order to learn more about the environment: for example, the endangered species wall contains an innovative technology wherein children can touch the animal image it will appear on the i-pad screen. There they can learn more about the animal and how they can prevent its endangerment and extinction.
One wall display promotes recycling and composting, where kids play an interactive game in which they choose whether an object is compostable or recyclable, and a more hands-on wall which is an interactive vertical garden box wall where each child is responsible for taking care of one plant on the wall. There is also a kids’ community garden, as well as a treehouse retreat area where they can snuggle up into comfortable nooks and read, or just enjoy some downtime.
“Flourish” will utilize healthy, interactive, and creative learning environments in order to teach and promote sustainability and environmental stewardship to children. With these efforts to educate our future generations, we can look forward to a better, more promising future.
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