Nature tales: a narrative journey through nature

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Osburn, Caitlin
Marlow, Chris
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Thesis (B. Arch.)
College of Architecture and Planning
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This project emphasizes habitat and trail design, habitat restoration, and environmental education, through the lens of narrative storytelling, in order to understand the role of narratives in ecological education and park design. The project site is seventy-five acres of land, adjacent to the White River and immediately west of Potter’s Bridge Park in Noblesville, Indiana. Fifty acres of this land was restored from existing agricultural land. A narrative nature park provides a stimulating way to learn about and become immersed in nature by using environmentally based short stories, which have been written and abstracted into outdoor spaces for the park. Nature Tales examines how to create a more engaging and impactful nature park as well as how to develop effective environmental education. To better understand how to create an immersive narrative design, research was conducted on topics such as ecological issues in Hamilton County, educational trends, storytelling methods, and park design strategies. From this conceptual designs exploring how to implement the stories were created before a final masterplan design. This project resulted in the creation of a masterplan, site restoration, and site-specific design for the proposed park space. Four seasonal based short stories were developed as the base framework that the park design was based on. Four trails were then developed to follow with story motifs and educational aspects throughout. Through the narrative story and engaging educational aspects, this project examined creating meaningful connections to nature to inspire environmental stewardship.