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Student Outreach and Programming

The Mellon Initiative in Urban Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks offers workshops, field trips, and other programming for students across the District, with the goal of improving urban environmental literacy and introducing students to potential careers in urban landscape design and management.

2019–2020

Teaching Urban Landscape History and Democracy Workshop

POSTPONED | June 1, 2020 | This workshop highlights the work to digitize Dumbarton Oaks’ archival documents on urban landscape history. This study day was created to organize the digitized documents into curricular activities/Document Based Questions for K–12 students. The Mellon Urban Landscape Initiative was partnering with the Manager of Career Discovery and Diversity of ASLA and the Director of Education and Outreach of New American History to organize the event. This initiative highlights Dumbarton Oak’s robust landscape focused primary sources and documents and makes them more accessible to local and nationwide communities, while simultaneously enabling students to learn document analysis skills. Historians, local teachers, and curriculum creators were invited to attend.

Design Like a Girl Workshop

POSTPONED | April 8 | The program pairs girls ages 12–14 with mentors from the architecture, construction, and engineering fields, so they can learn firsthand about these careers from professional women. At Dumbarton Oaks, the Mellon Urban Landscape Initiative had planned to introduce the girls to landscape architecture and history through a guided tour of our gardens and a model-making activity. Thaïsa Way and the garden staff planned on discussing landscape history at Dumbarton Oaks and the garden.

Freedom School K–12 Day at Dumbarton Oaks

POSTPONED | April 6, 2020 | The Mellon Urban Landscape Initiative planned on hosting Nathan Connolly’s Freedom School, associated with Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in Baltimore. The Freedom school had planned a unit on anti-colonial struggle that would culminate at Dumbarton Oaks. The students would learn about the multi-faceted history of the property, starting with the history prior to Bliss ownership. Special focus would be paid to the Dumbarton Oaks Conversations and the according response by WEB Dubois on human rights. The students would also take a tour of the garden and learn about the impact of climate change and contemporary landscape practices on Beatrix Farrand’s historical design.

Phelps Boat Tour on the Anacostia River with Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School

CANCELLED | Phelps students were planning on discussing conservation challenges and successes of the Anacostia River. This tour was organized in conjunction with the DC River Keepers.

Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School Lunchtime Seminar

March 2, 2020 | The Mellon Initiative facilitated a lunchtime seminar at Phelps that focused on the intersection of food history, landscape history, and inequality. Three postdocs from the Mellon-funded “Before Farm to Table Project” at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Dr. Elisa Tersigni, Dr. Michael Walkden, and Dr. Jack Bouchard, each gave a 15-minute talk regarding different methods of food procurement and history as another avenue for the students exploring landscape use and history.

Landscape Architecture Project, Tour, and Lecture at the US National Arboretum with Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School

February 25, 2020 | The Mellon Initiative hosted Phelps’s architecture and landscape architecture class at the US National Arboretum. The students participated in a discussion with and took a tour with the staff and director of the arboretum, Dr. Olsen. Following the discussion and tour, the students created models for their ongoing design project to redesign a new entrance into the arboretum on Brandenburg Road. The Program Coordinator for Garden and Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks, Jane Padelford (MLA), and Thaïsa Way participated in giving creative and professional feedback to the students during the visioning session.

 

2018–2019

Phelps Field Trip to the National Mall

Field trip with students from the Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School. Tour led by John Beardsley on the landscape design, and social and cultural history of the National Mall including the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, and the Washington Monument.

 

2017–2018

Phelps Herb Garden

During the 2017–2018 academic year, the Mellon Initiative in Urban Landscape Studies sponsored and guided the planning and development of an herb garden with landscape and architecture students at Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School. Students documented the process of design, construction, and maintenance over the course of the year with photos and videos.

Phelps Field Trip to Dumbarton Oaks

September 19, 2017 | Landscape and architecture students at Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School toured the pollinator garden, greenhouse, and green infrastructure at the Fellowship House at Dumbarton Oaks.

 

2016–2017

Phelps Final Design Review

May 23, 2017 | Final review of student landscape designs for Kingman Park Community Garden at Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School

Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington, Clubhouse 14

May 20, 2017 | Mellon postdoctoral fellow Jeanne Haffner assisted students in the National Building Museum's Design Apprenticeship Program with the construction of vegetable, herb, and butterfly gardens at Clubhouse 14 of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington, located on Benning Road NE

Phelps Midterm Design Review

April 11, 2017 | Review of student landscape designs for Kingman Park Community Garden at Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School

National Building Museum, Design Apprenticeship Program

March–May 2017 | Weekly participation in landscape architecture workshops with 30 high school students from around the District, including site analysis and design reviews. Mellon postdoctoral fellow Jeanne Haffner gave a presentation to students on landscape architect Lawrence Halprin’s unbuilt designs for the Anacostia riverfront (1966–70) and its relevance to contemporary waterfront planning in Washington, DC

Field Trip to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park

February 28, 2017 | Field trip with landscape and architecture students from Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School. Tour of the park with landscape architect Jennifer Daniels of the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

Kingman Park Community Garden, Site Analysis

February 16, 2017 | Participation in site analysis of Kingman Park Community Garden (NE) with landscape and architecture students from Phelps Architecture, Engineering, and Construction High School

Garden Hydrology

September 20, 2016 | Workshop with landscape students from Phelps Architecture, Construction, and Engineering High School

 

2015–2016

Public Park, Private Garden

May 14, 2016 | Design challenge with students from the National Building Museum Teen Council

Hydraulic Gardens

May 11, 2016 | Water management tour of Dumbarton Oaks for sixth graders, organized through the DC Arts & Humanities Education Collaborative

Tree Notebooks

May 3 & 9, 2016 | Tree identification workshop at Dumbarton Oaks with students (grades 4–8) organized through the DC Arts & Humanities Education Collaborative

Biodiversity from Garden to City

April 27, 2016 | Tour of Dumbarton Oaks with Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School