Finishing grad school during Covid-19 was a strange experience and this project is the product of that. During the beginning of Covid-19, instead of finishing my degree on-campus, I returned to my hometown of Spokane, Washington as all classes were online. I was fortunate enough that Spokane is full of hikes and outdoor activities. Our city motto up until last year was, “Near nature, near perfect.” (it is now “Creative by Nature”) During this time, I stayed grounded by spending my time outdoors as much as possible. Through my hikes, I learned that I actually didn’t know many of the plants in Spokane. I had moved here when I was ten, but I had somehow I had only learned plants on the West side of the state where I had moved from. I had not spent any time learning plants on the East side of the state.
For my final project, I decided to create a workbook for children from ages 8-12 to learn about the native plants, animals, and land around them. While I was learning about the land I had ignored, I felt compelled to share my findings. I created an illuminated manuscript-inspired workbook allowed the reader to learn what I discovered while encouraging them to uncover some on their own. The last few pages of the book ask the reader to make up their own question so they can explore anything they discovered deeper, and another to make up a question for a friend to complete. These questions encourage deeper discovery and understanding. Ideally, one activity would be completed with a park ranger, and then would be sent home to continue the discovery process with their parents or on their own.