Residents of the Concordia neighborhood gathered at Neighborhood House of Milwaukee recently to observe Earth Day and participate in the community organization’s latest outdoor environmental education project.
Neighborhood House is collaborating with local muralist Andrew Parchmen to design a room on its top floor as an interactive educational environment highlighting the earth’s tropical and temperate climate communities. The room comprises 3,000 square-feet of naturally lit, open space and is known as the “Tree House.”
“The goal of this project is to engage our students in learning about several natural environments,” said Niki Espy, outdoor environmental education coordinator at Neighborhood House. “Children will be able to compare and contrast the different features of our planet, including plants, animals and climate patterns,” she added.
The outdoor environmental education program is Milwaukee’s oldest community-based green program and is integrated into all Neighborhood House programs. It integrates field experiences with classroom lessons through partnerships with Milwaukee organizations including the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, Urban Connections and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources/Lakeshore State Park.
Muralist Parchmen, current resident artist at Milwaukee Public Theatre, is aided by participants in Neighborhood House programs, including urban youth ages 2-18. He has designed and supervised the painting of a number of murals in Neighborhood House’s building at 2819 W. Richardson Pl.
On Earth Day, Parchmen and neighborhood youth painted a tree-themed mural on the walls of the Tree House. There will be an unveiling and gallery event in June.
In addition to a Community Paint Day, Neighborhood House’s Earth Day event included a neighborhood clean-up, clothing exchange, gardening, duct tape wallet-making, a rummage sale and a workshop on recycling and water conservation.