The BAC Joins Movement to Enhance Myles Standish State Forest

Through the Gateway Program, the BAC partners with the Southern Massachusetts Pine Barrens Alliance & the DCR

BAC students at architectural crit with guest reviewers

BAC students at architectural crit with guest reviewers; Photo by Meredith Julianna, MLA Candidate

The Boston Architectural College (BAC) has joined forces with the Southern Massachusetts Pine Barrens Alliance (SEMPBA) and the state's Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to make the riches of the Massachusetts Myles Standish State Forest, located in Plymouth and Carver, more accessible to the public. Through the College's Gateway program, the BAC is helping to design a Pine Barrens Discovery Center that, when complete, will be the lens through which visitors observe and enjoy the land and the region's rare ecosystem, the Atlantic coastal pine barrens.

The BAC became involved in the vision to illuminate Myles Standish State Forest in the spring of 2015 after connecting with Loni Plocinski, geographic information system specialist at the DCR. Loni had been looking to collaborate with a local college program, and the BAC's Gateway initiative fit the bill. Together, the BAC, SEMPBA, and the DCR all share the same goals: to create a space that will showcase the unique aspects of the forest, including its history and ecosystem, and to create a space that will host meetings, classes, research, and other community gatherings.

"From the start of the project, I have been most excited about the enthusiasm and involvement of the members of SEMPBA and the DCR on this project," said BAC Master of Landscape Architecture student Meredith Juliana. "They took the time out of their busy schedules to meet with students on two occasions now, with two more meetings planned for this semester, and they have been working tirelessly on this idea for years. It is both invigorating and inspiring to see their level of passion for the Discovery Center."

The BAC's role in developing the Pine Barrens Discovery Center will continue to evolve as the year continues. This semester, the students' goal is to provide SEMPBA and the DCR with a book that will include precedent studies, history and ecosystem research, materiality studies and site recommendations, and proposed design ideas. The students are currently working to narrow down their ideas to present two preliminary designs for the center.

Although the semester will officially close in May, the partnership is expected to be long-lasting. The BAC's group of students plans to attend Pine Fest, a festival to celebrate the Pine Barrens, and the future is expected to hold continued BAC support to the Pine Barrens Discovery Center throughout its development and afterwards.