Foundation of wood burning wigwam at Dickman Mill Park, Tacoma, WA

Teaching and Learning in Nearby Nature

I invite you to read an article entitled Teaching and Learning in Nearby Nature about my Learning in Nearby Nature course. Abstract How can we engage the tension that environmental degradation and meaningful remediation efforts co-exist in the same space? In this documentary account, I describe a weekend mini-course I developed and taught to support…

wildlife - crow

Attending to Nearby Wildlife

In Lyanda Lynn Haupt’s book The Urban Bestiary: Encountering the Everyday Wild, she describes experiences with everyday wildlife in her Seattle neighborhood. Haupt documents her observations of and/or interactions with a variety of wildlife including coyotes (or their tracks or scat), raccoons, opossums, moles, pigeons, crows, chickens, owls, songbirds, trees, and other humans. Reading the…

Signs, Old Town Dock, Tacoma, WA

No, No, No: Signs Managing Different Publics

Park systems work to manage human behavior in nearby nature to create shared public space, to protect wildlife, and to reduce safety risks. The signage along the Tacoma waterfront reflects these themes. The contrast between the signs, pictured above, made me chuckle and also inspired me to look more closely at the signage aimed at…

umwelt: Canada geese walking on dock near the Lobster Shop, Tacoma, WA

Umwelt: Surroundings

For the past month I’ve been observing broods of Canada geese on my walks along the Ruston Way Waterfront in Tacoma, Washington. The groups of goslings are always with two or four adults (sometimes more) and spend most of their time eating or resting. Occasionally I’ve observed the goslings, always flanked by adult geese, swimming…

Learning in Nearby Nature - Thea’s Park, Tacoma, WA

Learning in Nearby Nature

As a part of my 2015 sabbatical project I developed a new course, Learning in Nearby Nature. I’ll be teaching the class later this month and I look forward to exploring nearby nature sites with Puget Sound students. Here is the description of the course and a brief preview of the sites we will visit.…

Boiler room foundation at high tide,  Dickman Mill Park, Tacoma, WA

High Tide

This week I’ve been walking along the Ruston Way waterfront and observing how the high tide changes the landscape. A combination of rain and high tides had led to flooding in low lying areas around the Puget Sound. The waterfront parks and beaches have become much narrower or covered in water. Below are photos I…

Cyclists on Schuster Parkway, Tacoma, WA

Downtown to Defiance

In my ongoing survey about the Ruston Way waterfront, visitors expressed concern about car traffic and the potential for increased traffic due to the residential and commercial development at Point Ruston. Some visitors also expressed interest in closing Ruston Way to create bike and pedestrian pubic access. Suggestions included closing the road on weekend mornings or one…

Amy Ryken walking on the Ruston Way Waterfront, Tacoma, WA

Walking

In The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot, Robert Mcfarlane’s highly descriptive writing paints a visual picture of walks taken in England, Scotland, Palestine, Spain, and the Himalayas. As Mcfarlane notes, walking paths offer, “not only means of traversing space, but also ways of feeling, being and knowing” (p. 24). Pilgrims have used paths and…

Sign, Ruston Way Waterfront, Tacoma, WA

Public Shore

This week I read Carolyn Finney’s book Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors. Finney critically analyzes how parks and outdoor spaces, and people who use them, are represented in the media, policy, and society. She notes that the Civil Rights Act and the Wilderness Act were both…

Visitors Taking in Views of Vashon Island and Commencement Bay from the Les Davis Pier, Tacoma, WA

Waterfront Parks

Waterfront Parks in New York City Waterfront parks are important reminders about how cities rely on water for manufacturing and transport of goods and how ports can facilitate economic development. While I was in New York I visited two waterfront parks, Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Hudson River Park. Both of these parks are mixed-use…