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Parker Middle School
Since mid-October, students at the Parker Middle School have been actively involved in community design. During their Super Art period and after school, the young designers have been researching, planning, drawing and building scale models. Their new architectural and landscape designs are meant to encourage local residents to enjoy and appreciate the historic, ecological, community and recreational value of the Taunton River.
The program was funded by a grant from The National Endowment for the Arts. It is a collaboration of SMARTS (The Southeastern Massachusetts Arts Collaborative), Learning by Design in Massachusetts and the Parker Middle School. Carol Bliven, art teacher, and Jan Ham, design educator, led the activities. Jeremy Bonin, an intern architect with the Robinson, Green, Beretta Corporation in Providence, Rhode Island volunteered in the program, sharing his professional expertise and enthusiasm for design with the students.
The students began their research on a field trip touring Providence's Water Place Park, followed by a visit to the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDD) office to discuss regional planning and to see a demonstration of G.I.S. (Geographic Information Systems) mapping technology. Next, they visited three study sites along the Taunton River, including land near the Boyden Nature Center. They then met with Dr. William Hanna to learn about the history of the Taunton River area, and Mr. Patrick Rogers, Taunton River Watershed team leader with the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, to learn about the ecology of the Taunton Watershed.
This real-world design program's success was due to to the hard work and enthusiasm of our students, and the many collaborators who contributed to the program.
Please enjoy the pictures within the text that were taken when the students made a public presentation of their experiences in December 2002.
Thank you to the students, teachers and volunteers for helping us to protect the Taunton River!