College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Landscape Architecture

Kingman Island: Designing a wildlife habitat and an outdoor educational center

Dr. Ellis' 2nd year MLA students tackle a design project in Kingman Island, Washington DC

Under the leadership of Dr. Christopher Ellis the 2nd year MLA students were assigned last fall to work on a design project for Kingman Island in Washington DC. How exciting it is to see our faculty and students working on real world projects!

Curious to see what the students worked on? Read below to find out more!

Project 1: Kingman Island, DC

Dr. Ellis challenged his students to develop a wildlife habitat and outdoor educational facilities master plan for Kingman Island in Washington, DC.

Kingman Island is located in the Anacostia River in Northwest DC.  It was built in 1916 using sediment dredged from the Anacostia.  Historic plans for the park were never built and recent improvements are largely piecemeal developments that follow previous concepts. 

The island is managed by the Living Classrooms Foundation whose mission is to “inspire young people to achieve their potential through hands-on education and job training, using urban, natural and maritime resources as living classrooms.”  Their interest in this design is to create a plan to support healthy native wildlife habitat on the island that can serve as outdoor learning environments for their educational programs.

The Anacostia Watershed Society has been constructing wetland meadows around the island for aquatic habitat and water quality improvement. These efforts should be recognized as part of a continuous system of terrestrial and aquatic habitat on the island to attract native species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, and fish.

The students were to analyze the island and its context for the creation of wildlife habitat and educational opportunities. They had to identify alternative concepts, design these installations and present them to the Living Classrooms Foundation.  A number of technical issues were to be resolved including the design criteria for different habitat types (tidal wetlands, meadows, vernal pools, floodplain forests, etc.). Other items included a welcoming park entrance facility with parking, seating areas, signage, path systems and a series of open space classrooms. 

Want to see what the students came up with? Read the Kingman Island Final Report here.

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