Parks in Poplar


This fall, my HORT 432 Advanced Landscape Design studio is working with the Fort Peck Tribe’s Office of Environmental Protection and the U.S. EPA on site designs for two public parks in Poplar, Montana. The partners’ goals are to utilize landscape design for redeveloping vacant, under-performing properties and to demonstrate how to mimic natural systems to treat stormwater while being drought resilient.


Mid-October we traveled to Poplar (whew – my longest trip with undergrads!) to meet with project partners and facilitate a community design workshop. We toured the town, listened to presentations from Tribe’s Office of Environmental Protection, learned about Souix American Indian cultural uses of plants from an elder, Louis Red Elk, walked along the Poplar River, and visited the project sites. On the sites students measured elements like slopes, dimensions, vegetation species and structure, utility locations, and site lines.


Students facilitated a design workshop for nearly 40 participants. The students organized and created the material and activities that were presented, and I was so proud of their professionalism and communication skills. The Tribes prepared an Indian taco feast following the workshop, which felt especially celebratory after the students’ hard work.

That night students summarized findings from the community workshop and developed initial drawings to discuss park design goals at a morning meeting before heading back to Bozeman. We toured the Fort Peck Interpretive Center and the dam powerhouse before the beautiful drive home through Glasgow, Upper Missouri River Breaks, and Harlowtown.

Students have been hard at work in the studio developing site design ideas that meet stakeholder needs and landscape performance targets. If you’re interested in seeing their final design proposals, please join us for the final review on Monday, December 4, noon-3:00 PM in Animal Bioscience Building 145.