This project addresses the lack of interaction between children and rainforest ecologies in the Brazilian Amazon’s most deforested area known as the “Deforestation Arc”. The absence of local ecologies in public schools throughout the Arc is a microcosm of the human-rainforest divide at large. This project aims to disrupt this divide during young Brazillian’s formative developmental years.

By proposing a wider gradient of child-rainforest interface in the schoolyard environment, children become agents of bottom-up change - upcycling new relationships with the rainforest to their surroundings.
A case study in the state of Rondônia serves as precedent for schools in the ‘Deforestation Arc’ of a similar landscape type, student age range, and proximity to agricultural plots. The project proposes a partnership with local ranchers, who are responsible for 80% of deforestation. Through this partnership the schoolyard extends to a portion of the rancher’s plot to challenge producers and students’ relationship with the forest.

The project is guided by learning objectives to teach students about the impacts of deforestation on soil degradation, habitat fragmentation, and the water cycle. Thus, the three proposed interventions, the garden, the play forest, and the pools, tackle each learning objective respectively.

Susan Herrington

Through the schoolyard program, students become stewards in practices possible within the forest’s canopy, raising awareness of occupations feasible without deforestation and fires, like polyculture farming and local wildlife raising. The interventions are educational but also aim to provide value to the school and partner rancher through the production of food, availability of play spaces, and added moisture in an increasingly drier region due to deforestation, fires, and climate change.

By increasing the gradient between the binaries of agriculture and forest as well as production and conservation in the schoolyard environment, future generations become active agents in the rebuilding of this contested landscape.