Ellensburg, USA

Ida Nason Aronica Forest

Unleashing children’s well-being through nature.

Pocket Forest

The project is a unique opportunity to engage our community in the benefits of having a space for social emotional wellbeing, hands-on outdoor learning and scientific learning about the benefits of trees.

Nature is a wonderful teacher and this forest will have many learning opportunities at Ida Nason Aronica Elementary.  By exploring this outdoor classroom, students will learn about a burgeoning, diverse ecosystem from micro and macro world view.

Forest Maker Ethan Bryson








The area of the future SUGi pocket forest
The site of the Ida Nason Aronica Forest in Seattle, USA

“This forest will help our community in many ways. Many of our students have social emotional needs that are not effectively met in a traditional classroom. Having an outdoor focus, task and place to connect with a growing forest will provide a space for students to build their social emotional skills. Having the opportunity for outdoor shared learning will allow students to make cross curricular connections with science, the environment, literacy and math.”

Joanne Duncan, Principal at Ida Nason Aronica


Who is Ida Nason Aronica?

Ida was a local indigenous woman, who was a steward of her culture, language, land and community. She is honored throughout our school with murals, displays of her baskets, tools, beadwork and pictures. Stories are shared about her courage, kindness, persistence and wisdom.

We strive to carry on her legacy of stewardship, connection to nature and understanding of those who came before us and leaving things better for those who will come after us.

Forest Design

Ida Nason Aronica Elementary School was designed from the wants and desires of the Ellensburg Community to have a unique school that would connect students to the outdoors and environmental education.

The design team brought the vision to life and created a school filled with natural lighting, wayfinding that goes in a circular path and is identified by the seasons. An inner-courtyard serves as an outdoor classroom that all students have access to use every day. As cycles happen with the four seasons and four directions, this forest will be in the shape of a medicine wheel with four quadrants and a small central reflection space.

As cycles happen with the four seasons and four directions, this forest will be in the shape of a medicine wheel with four quadrants and a small central reflection space.

Native species selection:

Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana), a native North American shrub, plays a vital environmental role. It thrives in diverse habitats, offering shelter and nesting spots for wildlife. Its dark berries serve as a nutritious food source for various animals.
Mockorange (Philadelphus Lewisii) is a deciduous shrub renowned for its delightful fragrance. Native to various regions across the Northern Hemisphere, it serves as a haven for various pollinators, making it ecologically significant.
The Beaked Hazelnut (Corylus cornuta) provides habitat and food for wildlife, and its nutritious hazelnuts are valued by both animals and humans. Indigenous communities have historically utilized its various parts for medicinal and practical purposes.
The Douglas Maple (Acer glabrum var douglasii) is a deciduous tree found in western North America, known for its vibrant foliage. Thriving in diverse habitats, from mountain slopes to streambanks, it plays a vital role in supporting wildlife.

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