My project is an interactive zine that guides visitors to Ravenna Park from the western to the eastern end of the park along the main trail in the ravine. Along the way, there are specific plants to identify, mindfulness practices to try out, and thoughts to be thought - out loud if you’d like! Merging together nature, mental health, and meditation will hopefully strengthen readers’ appreciation for the quiet yet powerful spaces tucked away in our city; perhaps, they’ll even take away 1-2 practices from today and adapt them within their own daily lives. Our urban public parks are powerful spaces, and I hope that we can build a greater sense of community and ownership around them so that they continue to be accessible and protected by all of us. Additionally, I pay respect to native American ownership of the land that Ravenna Park resides on by highlighting the Duwamish tribe’s ancestral homeland and discussing traditional native American uses of each plant identified.
“Mindfulness” is a word that’s thrown around a lot today. Originating from early Buddhist teachings that date back some 2,500 years, it’s thought to produce a variety of health benefits and has begun to become integrated into a range of spaces from professional workplaces to kindergartens. It seems as though we’re all seeking a way to “let go.” My hope is that my readers will be able to find a sense of calm within our urban spaces, become curious in the small wonders of nature that surround us, and adapt these mindfulness practices to fit their own needs. My goal is to make this booklet accessible to the surrounding Ravenna community who interact with the park on a daily basis, but ensure that it is also available for POC and minority students at the University of Washington who statistically face higher barriers to accessing our natural spaces. Students face high levels of stress and this booklet will hopefully give them a chance to engage in nature to help to alleviate anxiety and stress.
Funded by Seattle, WA (July 2019)