January 19, 2016 – “The Field”

If you missed the Children’s Outdoor Environments PPN meeting at the ASLA Annual Meeting in Chicago, you missed a fantastic meeting that rivaled many of the education sessions in value and content. As has been the trend in recent years, meeting attendance exceeded that of past years and presentations have never been better. This year’s meeting began with a surprise mini-birthday celebration for Nilda Cosco, PhD, Affiliate ASLA. She and Robin Moore, Hon. ASLA, were kind enough to make the trip to join us over her birthday weekend, so we took that opportunity to show our appreciation by singing happy birthday and presenting her with a cupcake and birthday crown.

Short Presentations:

After this brief introduction, the meeting began with presentations by four fantastic speakers on a variety of children’s open space topics ranging from public engagement of youth, to research projects, and even to controversial topics like risk in the play environment. Below is a list of the speakers and the specific topics each of them addressed. The presentations used by each of the speakers can be found on our PPN Resources page for those interested in learning more about what was shared.

The Manzanita Gathering Place: Engaging Youth in Creative Place Making
Ilisa Goldman, ASLA

Community Design Collaborative: Strengthening Neighborhoods Through Design
Alexa Bosse, Associate ASLA

Building Mounds: Building Play Diversity
David Watts, ASLA

Risky Elements in Play Design
Shannon Mikus, Associate ASLA

Keynote Presentation:

Professor Robin Moore and Dr. Nilda Cosco from NC State University’s Natural Learning Initiative joined the meeting and presented a captivating narrative of their work at the NLI with community-based strategies at the state level to Preventing Obesity by Design (POD) and supporting healthy lifestyles in childcare centers by improving outdoor learning environments (OLE). Each of them spoke to the importance of this matter and they posed a greater question of how the Children’s Outdoor Environments PPN can help make this new frontier for landscape architects and designers into a national movement.


After these information-packed presentations, attendees were given time to ask questions of each of the guest speakers and a final solicitation was made for additional COE PPN team support.

A huge thank you is in order for all of you who attended the meeting and to all who prepared so diligently to ensure its success. Now it is time to start planning for ways to support and edify our members this year through continued articles on The Field blog, Online Learning webinars, social media, the 2016 Annual Meeting, and more!

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