While we didn’t have the turnout that we expected for our design workshop, I still valued it. The preparation for our workshop was a lot of hard work that I feel trained me for the real world. We had to brainstorm what we wanted to do, using Ecotone’s plan as a guide. We then had to determine what tasks we had and who would do each. Devyn and I planned out the introduction, focus group time, mapping activity, and conclusion. If we would have had more of a turn out we would have been prepared. Also, if we decide to do another workshop we will be prepared. The work we had to do setting up and getting ready was good preparation as well as negotiating who in the group would do what.
We also gathered some valuable information in our design workshop. We received our first completed survey and also received some sound advice. My personal goal was to engage the kids who came so that they would view Zenger in a positive light and K and V did. I heard them say once, “This is a really fun place.” We really had an impact on our two very intelligent and informed youth participants. When they think of Zenger farm now they will picture crayons and carrots and baby turkeys. Maybe they’ll even tell their friends about Zenger farm and how fun they had.
The adult workshop was interesting to observe as a successful community input session. I saw the neighbors of Zenger get really into their different maps. I enjoyed hearing the input they had to share. Some of the points they made where very valid ones like, the problems with the Spring Water Corridor. I wasn’t aware of the problems with homeless people and the local concern for access to neighborhoods. I also enjoyed observing the similarities between the different maps and the differences. However, I noticed that there wasn’t anyone under the age of 35 at the workshop. I’m sure there are many kids and younger adults in the area and I realized just how important our work with youth really is.
I was inspired at this workshop. K’s knowledge of farming and the environment inspired me and gave me hope that future generations will care for our earth. She mentioned once that worms are great because they eat compost and make it into dirt. Her younger sister said that she didn’t like the sliminess of worms but I’m sure that K will persuade her to love worms by the time she’s five. K’s knowledge also made me wonder just who is teaching her all of this. She said that she doesn’t learn about the environment at school, but she has chickens at home.
The success of the adult design workshop also inspired me. I now realize that it is possible to receive the public’s opinion if they are informed properly. I move forward in our project aiming to achieve the feeling of success that Ecotone had at their design workshop. The youth of the Powellhurst-Lents neighborhood are waiting for us to get their input, now we just need to find them.