Educating Future Designers & Planners

How does Park Pride influence the future of landscape architecture and community engagement?

Interns at Mattie Freeland Greenspace
Interns Corey Ferguson and Brandon Green chat with community members about potential plans for the Mattie Freeland Greenspace.

Park Pride has built a robust intern program for aspiring landscape architects within the Park Visioning Program. Walt Ray, the Director of Park Visioning and registered landscape architect, teaches the principles of the “Park Pride Way,” our unique bottom-up approach of park design, while simultaneously engaging interns with plenty of real world experience through working with, learning from, and designing for communities that are re-imagining their parks. They gain insight into design challenges, politics, and community engagement tactics; they practice public speaking and presentation techniques, as well as hone graphic design and drawing skills.

Interns at Ed Castro Landscape
Walt Ray leads interns through design training at Ed Castro Landscape.

This summer, three Park Visioning interns*, Corey Ferguson, Brandon Green, and Jessica Overton, participated in the visioning of the Mattie Freeland Greenspace in the English Avenue neighborhood. Established as an honor garden for the late Mattie Freeland, a dedicated community resident, the greenspace had become a center of activity for the neighborhood, and residents sought assistance in the creation of a common vision for its future. Corey, Brandon, and Jessica wasted no time in immersing themselves into creating detailed maps of the land, documenting the current condition of the greenspace lots, and seeking out potential areas for expansion. Side-by-side with community residents, they surveyed neighbors about the current use and future hopes for the greenspace.

McKenzy Heath
McKenzy Heath shares her dreams for the future of Mattie Freeland Greenspace.

Under Walt’s guidance, the interns prepared conceptual drawings of possible designs that accommodate the neighbors’ desires for Mattie Freeland Greenspace and learned valuable lessons about responding to a community’s needs and building neighborhood consensus.

Jessica intern
Park Visioning intern, Jessica Overton, prepares for a community meeting.

We hope that they’ll carry those lessons with them into their future careers, ensuring that one day every community will have a well-used park or greenspace that perfectly reflects their unique personality and culture!

Park Pride will be accepting Park Visioning intern applications in mid-February, 2016, for summer 2016.

Learn more about the Park Visioning Website on Park Pride’s website:

*Park Pride’s Summer 2015 interns were generously supported with stipends from the Cherokee Garden Club.

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