Learning Landscapes is a forward-thinking program at the University of Colorado Denver that connects the design and construction of urban public spaces with healthy initiatives. Bromwell received one of the first LL designs offered in all of DPS in 1998 when a group of parents, elementary school students, school staff and faculty members, neighbors, local businesses owners, and landscape architecture graduate students turned our grounds “into a dynamic environment for learning,” according to Lois Brink (to read her paper on the project, CLICK HERE). Our areas of particular benefit from LL include the two playgrounds and the grasslands area just south of the building.
Our Learning Landscape group serves to maintain the grounds for the benefit of the students. In 2011, we planted almost 2,000 bulbs (tulips, iris, daffodils and muscari) along the basketball courts, the western playground and outside of the arch. Each student in the school learned about bulbs and planted at least one bulb each. This learning and ground improvement opportunity was made available by our local Whole Foods’ ‘bag donate’ program.
Bromwell has a wonderful garden program available to their students and the community. The school is partnered with DPS and Denver Urban Garden and has 12 plots which 6 are used for school garden to cafeteria program, 2 are school community plots and 4 are from the outside community. Bromwell has an addition which we refer to as the “pumpkin patch” adjacent to the community garden that usually has pumpkins, melons, and squash for use in the cafeteria as well as the Youth Farmer’s Market. New in 2011 is a mini orchard which will consist of 2 apple, 2 peach and 2 plum trees thanks to a grant from Whole Foods.
The garden program also works with the students in the spring to plant the seedlings of what will be grown in the garden and then all the classes will have food demos and education about healthy eating and why they should eat what they grow. The garden has participated in the last 2 years in the DPS garden to cafeteria program and has put roughly 200 pounds each year of fresh produce into the Bromwell lunch program. Bromwell also participates in the youth Farmer’s Market in the fall which sells local produce and produce from the garden to raise money for the garden program. There is a fall garden club offered to students with a more detailed focus on the garden and those kids also help with fall picking, clean-up and projects related to the garden.