Outdoor Learning Project 1

Encouraging and facilitating outdoor learning inspired by the Park Board’s Rewilding Vancouver strategy.




Centre for Dialogue


SFU Semester at CityStudio


  • Laura Piersol
  • Sean Blenkinsop
  • Lena Soots

City of Vancouver:

  • Lindsay Cole | Park Board

Student Team:

  • Emily Huang
  • Ananth Mehrotra
  • Dominique Goulet
  • Rebecca Tchen
  • Acacia Cresswell
  • Raaj Chatterjee
  • Alyssa Fraser
  • Nicole Lorage
  • Stephanie Shih
  • Christy Lum
  • Danielle DeVries
  • Joshua McGee
  • Rebecca Chen
  • Andrew Wilson
  • Anna Kraulis
  • Azlan Nur Saidy
  • Emily Townsend
  • Liticia Gardner


  • Greenest City Action Plan
  • Rewilding Vancouver
  • Everett Crowley Management Plan
  • Park Board Strategic Plan
  • Healthy City Strategy

City goal area:

  • Access to Nature
  • Special Wild Places
  • Healthy Ecosystems & Community
  • Active Living & Getting Outsde


CityStudio’s Outdoor Learning Project is inspired by Rewilding Vancouver, the Park Board’s strategy to celebrate the special wild places in the city and to bring experiences of nature into everyday life. The project works to encourage and facilitate outdoor learning in Everett Crowley Park. Phase 1 is in partnership with the SFU Semester in Dialogue. The project team is working with students and community organizations to research the infrastructure needs that would supports outdoor learning in Everett Crowley Park. Additional parks will be explored through future project work. The project is supported by the Vancouver Foundation and the Vancouver Park Board.

See the video here.

Researchers tell us that people in cities are increasingly affected by “nature deficit disorder”, with symptoms including reduced ability to concentrate, problems with heart and lung health, and mental health challenges amongst others. They also tell us that some of the most vulnerable people in our communities are those that are most deeply affected.1,2 The David Suzuki Foundation conducted a survey with young Canadians and found that 70 per cent spend an hour or less a day outdoors. The 2012 Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card says they spend almost eight hours a day in front of screens.3 Research also shows us that people who get outside regularly are less stressed, have more resilient immune systems and are generally happier.3 Time in nature is “not only good for us, it is essential to our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.”

We believe that urban parks are one of the most accessible ways to connect urban residents with nature, themselves and each other. We want to tap into this potential by exploring how we can create community-driven ‘outdoor learning spaces’ in parks in Vancouver.

Temporary Prototypes:

  1. Big Ears: What Can You Hear?
    Goal: To engage and foster a deeper connection with the natural environment through big ear cones that enhance the hearing experience in the park.
  2. Stop & Stare
    Goal: To encourage park users to pause in order to notice where they are and what can be learned from nature as a teacher.
  3. Blackberry Beacon
    Goal: To create a resting place in the park that is beautiful and encourages conversations around redefining invasive species.
  4. Burning Questions
    Goal: To provoke thinking and talking about the human and more-than-human relationships in order to enhance future human interventions in the natural world.
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