Our project is to bring nature inside to the residents that live in the Andrus on Hudson Senior Care Community, where our school is located. We want to convert empty, boring spaces into places that the Grands (that's what we call the senior citizens here) can enjoy natural light, peaceful imagery, sounds and plants. We want to do this so that even if the Grands can't go outside, they can still experience nature indoors. We designed two spaces, a nature nook and a sunroom, and we need funds to be able to make our project come true.
Hudson Lab School:
Hi! We are the Upper Elementary students of Hudson Lab School, a project based elementary school in Hastings on Hudson, New York. One of the things that makes our school special is that we get to work on projects that impact our community and the world, and we learn through doing them. Another thing that is unusual about our school is that we share our space with a Skilled nursing/Rehabilitation center called Andrus on Hudson. We spend time with them each week, and sometimes do projects that focus on them.
(Hudson Lab School Students)
This winter, we started a new project by getting a question from our teacher: “How can we use the intersection of science, technology, and design to facilitate a relationship between the Andrus community and the surrounding 26 acres in a way that creates equal access to all?” Our first step was going around the Andrus building looking for how much nature there was inside the building compared to outside.
(Andrus on Hudson)
We had a lot of meetings around the building and we saw that there was no nature in the spaces like the lobby or the rotundas on the other floors. We did not see anything that was real, we only saw things that were resemblances of nature. We looked around and realized we could make a big impact by bringing the experience of nature to the residents of Andrus.
We learned about and started to research biophilia, which is the idea that humans need nature to be healthy and happy.
(One of the spaces we want to remodel)
Our first thought was that we could slap some trees into the building, but no one liked that idea.
We researched biophilia and met with an expert to learn about creating biophilic spaces. He told us about living walls and moss walls. We learned that plants help filter the air and improve air quality. We installed an air quality monitor and learned that the air in the building needed some improvement. So we decided to look for a place in the building that we could turn into a beautiful biophilic oasis. One day when we were with the Grands, we discovered a boring alcove in the lobby.
We made drawings of what we thought the Nature Nook (which is what we called the alcove) could look like:
(Early ideation on the nature nook concept)
Our class thought about a moss wall and we thought, “Ohhhh that could be cool!” Then someone else said it could be a map of Andrus property... everyone everyone liked that so we started researching the property.
Our next step was to create a model of the whole Andrus property. We have 26 acres here that is mostly woods, trails, big open fields and a garden.
(An early 3D draft of the model)
At first, everyone made their own maps and then we started making our first group prototype out of paper. Then we got the challenge to make a cardboard 3D version. Finally, we put together a scale model of the whole property, which we want to include as a display for the Grands to enjoy.
(Students showing off the 3d model they built)
What the Research Says:
The next step was to research the impact of bringing nature indoors, and how we could bring nature to the residents. We researched the uses of different plants and what they are best at, for example, some plants can be good at filtering the air and can improve air quality. Our research showed that english ivy and snake plants were good for air quality. Other research we did showed that doctors in Scotland were prescribing nature instead of medicine for their patients.
We are raising money to see out our vision for bringing nature to the Grands at Andrus on Hudson.
We are trying to get enough money to fill two rooms with peaceful imagery, lush plants, zen nature sounds, a gorgeous moss wall, and comfortable seating. We created a budget for our project and realized we need about $4,000 to get all the materials.
Although it is still a great skilled nursing/rehabilitation for the Grands, the Grands would appreciate it if we filled the two rooms with nature and plants.
We would love it (and the Grands would love it) if you could donate even just a penny to Andrus on Hudson and our project. It would be a true blessing.
(Students working on the plans for the remodeled spaces)
What the money will go towards:
Once we get the money we need, we will use it to drastically improve two rooms in the Andrus lobby that don't have any nature elements.
We are going to turn the first room in the lobby into a beautiful Nature Nook with projections because the room is way too hot for the live plants we were thinking of. We will also put our Andrus model in the Nook.
The second room is behind the first room. It has glass doors and we will transform that room by adding healthy live plants, a moss wall, a beautiful bench, and a speaker to play sounds.
We will build the bench ourselves (with the help of our friend Kenny who is a furniture maker) out of reclaimed wood.
We are trying to finish the project before school is out - so we need to raise it before June 7th, 2019.
(Example of moss wall)
Thank you for donating to a good cause. Your donation will help bring nature to the 197 Grands that live in our building. It will not only help the Grands but it will help build the intergenerational program at our school. We’re excited to have an impact on the building and for the Grands. We are grateful for your help.
(Students tell nature stories with the Grands)
About Hudson Lab School:
Hudson Lab School is a progressive, project-based K-12 school located in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY. We integrate collaborative, interdisciplinary project-based learning (PBL) and thoughtful self-reflection with the academic fortitude of a classical liberal arts education. Our mission is to instill a love of learning and to teach children how to design and build a life in which they can thrive.
Our setting in a nursing home with a 26-acre campus allows Hudson Lab School to combine a strong indoor/outdoor classroom approach with leading intergenerational programming, providing a unique environment for our students to build their sense of community. For more information visit https://www.hudsonlabschool.com/
About Andrus on Hudson:
Since 1953 Andrus on Hudson, a 501(c)3 organization, has been committed to the care of seniors. We currently operate a 197 bed Skilled Nursing Care facility on 26 acres overlooking the Hudson River. The services that we provide are: Rehabilitation & Post-Acute Care, Long Term Care, Memory Care, Hospice/Palliative Care & Respite Care. Each of our residents has a private room and we offer intergenerational programs between seniors and children ages 1 through 19. For more info visit http://www.andrusonhudson.org/