Previous Posts(0)
February 2020 (17)
January 2020 (21)
December 2019 (8)
November 2019 (17)
October 2019 (16)
September 2019 (9)
August 2019 (10)
July 2019 (8)
June 2019 (11)
May 2019 (15)
April 2019 (13)
March 2019 (13)
February 2019 (17)
January 2019 (13)
December 2018 (7)
November 2018 (12)
October 2018 (12)
September 2018 (12)
August 2018 (15)
July 2018 (6)
June 2018 (16)
May 2018 (6)
April 2018 (9)
March 2018 (12)
February 2018 (6)
January 2018 (5)
December 2017 (9)
November 2017 (10)
October 2017 (6)
September 2017 (13)
August 2017 (6)
July 2017 (6)
June 2017 (11)
May 2017 (12)
April 2017 (6)
March 2017 (12)
Blog Topics(0)
Records 1 to 1 of 1
Outland Design gift grows trades campaign total, nurtures early childhood educators
Okanagan College Media Release

Education is one of the roots of a healthy community. This is the message a local landscape architecture firm hopes people in the valley will take away from its recent donation to Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus and its students.Outland Design May 2016

Outland Design Landscape Architecture has pledged $10,000 to support the new Trades Training complex at the Kelowna campus; the firm has also created an annual bursary to support students in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) program.

Trades and Early Childhood Education may seem unrelated at first glance, but as Outland owner Fiona Barton explains, the gift was inspired by the College’s commitment to opening doors for a diverse array of learners.

“We’re hoping to inspire local students and would-be students to lifelong learning. The value of education for themselves and for our community is limitless,” says Barton, who is also the firm’s senior landscape architect. “The College has a growing Horticulture Certificate program, and there are many intersections with the trades in what we do, so there were lots of reasons for us to support.”

“Support from the community plays an integral role in Okanagan College’s efforts to break down barriers to education,” says Okanagan College Foundation Director Kathy Butler. “We are deeply moved by the way Fiona and her team at Outland Design have so generously invested their dollars, and their time and expertise in our students.”

The newly launched Outland Design Landscape Architecture award, valued at $750, will provide an annual boost to an ECE student entering second year of the two-year diploma program at Okanagan College.

“We wanted to highlight the important role that early childhood educators play in the Okanagan, which is what led to the creation of this award and inspired our ongoing research partnership with the College,” explains Barton.

Last year, Outland Design signed on as a community partner of a federally-funded, applied research grant exploring the benefits of outdoor play on children’s wellbeing, and how it can be tied into the training of early childhood educators.

As a mother of three, Barton saw working with the College to bring outdoor play into the lives of young learners as a natural fit, and a project that could have a long-term positive impact.

“Our goal as a design company is to create beautiful landscapes that enrich the environment,” notes Barton. “It is a natural fit for us to be involved in research that will have a positive impact on ECEs and help children grow and learn in the outdoors.”

Equipping early childhood educators is a growing area of expertise for Okanagan College. Dr. Beverlie Dietze, Okanagan College’s Director of Learning and Teaching, has been involved in researching the benefits of outdoor play in the ECE curriculum for several years. Dietze and Outland Design embarked on an outdoor play research project that was funded by NSERC in 2014-2015, and earlier this year received a research grant of $195,000 from the Lawson Foundation.

The grant will allow researchers to explore a wide range of training modules to benefit ECEs, from physical literacy to indigenous outdoor play practices, to outdoor play designs for optimal play.

“Fiona Barton and her staff are important community partners as they bring expertise in creating diverse and complex outdoor play spaces for children. These spaces contribute to triggering children’s curiosity, exploration and learning for life,” says Dietze.

The first recipient of the Outland Design award will be selected later this fall.

“Our students graduate with an in depth understanding of the benefits of well-constructed outdoor play environments to the overall development of the whole child,” explains Pam Wetterstrand, Chair of the ECE program. “We are grateful for support like this for students, and for the important research being conducted to support professional development opportunities for Early Childhood Educators.”

More information about this and other awards available at Okanagan College can be found at