The Nature Explore Classroom at
Shenzhen Mangrove Wetlands
Shenzhen Mangrove Wetlands Conservation Foundation (MCF) was established in July 2012. It was China’s first public founded organization that focused on environmental protection, and the first NGO to ever operate a government-mandated ecological park－Futian Mangrove Ecological Park.
Shenzhen is a young and booming city. The saying is we have the same population as Australia but only 1/3500 size. Therefore, it’s our vision to connect the local community with nature. Several years ago, MCF’s secretary-general Dr. Bao-hua Yan joined a workshop of the Nature Explore program in America, She was greatly impressed by their genuine ideas and amazing work. She always wondered what it would be like for Chinese children to have someplace like this.
In 2017, after 2 years of managing the ecological park, we contacted the Nature Explore program to build an Outdoor Classroom for children in the community, giving them a joyful and beneficial experience in nature, which happens to be the core value of operating an ecological park in the middle of the city.
By the support of our public welfare partner－Danone China, we started collaborating with Kirsten and Jim of the Nature Explore program and in Jan 2018, we organized a community workshop and designer workshop in Shenzhen. More than 30 local parents and professionals joined this productive gathering.
Our classroom is closely related to the local community and ecological character. The entrance gate is designed to demonstrate mangroves, and children can find intriguing animal figures and “footprints” in many sections. We also left some blanks for children to draw and reconstruct.
What makes our classroom unique is that it is a popular spot for family bonding. We built a traditional pressure well to go with the sand and water area, but we soon realized that almost every child from the city hadn’t used one before, and parents were very interested in telling stories and demonstrating it themselves.
Futian Mangrove Ecological Park
Junction of Xinzhou Road and Furong Road
Shenzhen, Guangdong, China