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Students work with Pullman on Mary’s Park improvements

marys wetland logo

By Tina Hilding, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture

PULLMAN, Wash. – A group of Washington State University landscape architecture students is working with the City of Pullman parks department to develop a wetland mitigation interpretive garden at Mary’s Park.

The five-acre park, located at 1570 SE Johnson Rd., is under development and was created in 2010 with a donation from the Herb Neil estate. The students will be working on the project through May 1.

As part of their third-year class, nine students developed an interpretive theme and designs for a wetland mitigation garden and interpretive trail. The students worked in pairs to develop conceptual designs, and then city officials chose their preferred theme of “Mary’s Wetland Neighborhood.” The theme was inspired by Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, a popular children’s show that is an offshoot of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. The new park also is going to include a fully accessible playground.

The students are rehabilitating a designated wetland area along Sunshine Creek, which runs through the northwest corner of the park, replacing invasive reed canary grass with native wetland shrubs, grasses and flowering plants. They also designed and are building an interpretive trail complete with entry and interpretive signage.

WSU Landscape Architecture students at work at Mary's Park
WSU Landscape Architecture students at work at Mary’s Park

“The signage will tell the story of Mary’s Wetland Neighborhood by introducing native plants and animals and their special qualities, as well as teaching kids about the value of wetlands within their communities,” said Jena Jauchius, adjunct instructor in the School of Design and Construction. “With the eventual construction of the universal playground, we viewed this project as a real opportunity for children visiting the playground to connect with nature through a playful ‘neighborhood’ theme.”

While the project helps the city, the design-build class also provides experiential, hands-on learning for the students, says Jauchius. The students are increasing their skills with client interaction and communication, teamwork and individual responsibility, project organization, construction detailing, construction scheduling, and hands-on experience in the construction process.

“The students develop their design from conceptual level through construction documents, and they build the project based on their own plans,” she said. “They benefit by working with a real-life client on an actual site that has tangible community benefit.”



  • Jena Jauchius, adjunct instructor, School of Design and Construction, 919.1288,
  • Tina Hilding, communications director, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, (509) 335-5095,


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