Opening young eyes to landscape architecture

Landscape Architecture has undertaken a new effort to expose middle and high school students to the profession through Pre-College Summer Programs offered every year on MSU’s beautiful campus.

Photo of grandparents working with students on a landscape architecture project during MSU Grandparents University.
Grandparents working with students on a landscape architecture project during MSU Grandparents University.

Landscape Architecture has undertaken a new effort to expose middle and high school students to the profession through Pre-College Summer Programs offered every year on MSU’s beautiful campus. For the past two summers, Paul Nieratko and LAClub student volunteers have offered a two-day program
called “Landscape Architecture Design Adventure” as part of the annual State 4H Exploration Days.

The program gives participants the opportunity to learn about and explore the Landscape Architecture design process through two hands-on model building exercises. In the first exercise, students chose between a canoe shelter and campground on an island or a lakeside horse trail campground and stable. The second, a design and model building exercise completed by all, was a new permanent amphitheater for the MSU Summer Circle Theater on the Red Cedar River behind the Auditorium and Kresge Art Center, near “The Rock” on Farm Lane.

Landscape Architecture also participated with the Urban & Regional Planning Program in the MSU Grandparents University, where alumni may bring their grandchildren back to MSU for a complete “university experience” that includes staying and eating in the dorms and attending GPU classes as if they were students once again… sharing the experience with their grandchildren.

The Planning course, led by Professor Mark Wilson, was entitled “Secrets of the Olympics” and offered in two parts. Part 1 was a lecture about locating Olympic facilities in cities and a behind-the-scenes tour of Spartan Stadium. Part 2 was a design studio program led by Paul Nieratko and his team of LAClub volunteers to build a stadium model for the (fictitious) site of the 2024 summer Olympics.

It is hoped that through this type of early exposure to the design studio environment, young people will consider selecting a professionally accredited career in Landscape Architecture or Urban & Regional Planning.


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