Building Sustainability Designers at the Lower School
Greg Mele, Director of Outdoor Education
Over the last month, Greg Mele, Director of Outdoor Education, has been bringing groups of Lower School teachers and students to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on field experience days to learn about sustainable design. Greg’s intention has been to gain first-hand experience from what the Wildflower Center has created and to begin thinking of ways to apply these sustainable concepts to CruPARK and beyond.
Greg understands how fortunate we are to have The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in our own backyard. It’s a nationally recognized research institution that is a model for sustainability research, education and implementation. As part of the University of Texas at Austin, it has received an honorary designation from the Texas Legislature as the state botanic garden and arboretum (http://soa.utexas.edu/wildflower-center-state-designation).
Situated on nearly 300 hundred acres, it has a 16-acre arboretum, cultivated gardens, managed natural areas and wildlands. In recent years, the Center has added significantly to its commitment to “nature play” by designing various playscapes built to “connect parents and children to the natural world.”
Of special interest to our Outdoor Education program is the intentional design of landscapes and buildings “to conserve native plants, create sustainable landscapes and conserve resources”. Greg has spent much of this inaugural year designing and creating our own school arboretum and botanic garden. He has leaned heavily on the research-based designs and expert execution of the Wildflower Center to begin sculpting CruPARK. Greg hopes to create something that engages people in the outdoors while providing a quality experiential learning tool and research lab for our school community.
With the help of students, teachers and members of our St. Andrew’s community, Greg is confident that we can develop an outdoor education and outdoor engagement program that meets the needs of our 21st-century learners. Contact him (email@example.com) if you want to help make this vision become a reality.
Located in Austin, Texas, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School is a private co-ed elementary, middle and high school for grades K-12. Students benefit from dedicated faculty, a challenging academic program, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.