Cultural Resources Management Program
Pacific Region / California & Nevada Region

Summer Student Program Aids Management and Planning for Cultural and Natural Resources on
Ridgefield NWR, WA


As the Bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition approaches, hundreds of thousands of visitors are anticipated to follow in their footsteps in search of the natural and cultural legacy they described. Attracted by the challenge of preparing for this heightened interest in the Northwest's resources, EDAW, an international environmental planning, site design and landscape architecture firm, selected the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge as the project for its 20th annual Summer Student Program in June 2000.

The EDAW Summer Student Program is a widely-recognized work-study program that attracts students in landscape architecture and environmental planning from all over the world for an intensive two-week charrette style workshop addressing real project issues. This creative collaboration of students and professionals is held in a different retreat-style setting each year. Following the workshop, the students are hosted by one of EDAW's worldwide offices for a paid 8-week office internship.

At Ridgefield NWR, students identified potential opportunities for education and interpretive sites, trails, and an education and interpretive center to aid the refuge in hosting not only the bicentennial visitors expected in 2003-2006, but generations of refuge visitors in the years to come.

Both an ancient Chinookan town site, described by Lewis and Clark on November 5, 1805, and visited by them on March 29, 1806, and the Lewis and Clark expedition's campsite on the night of March 29, 1806, are located on the refuge. The ongoing archaeological study of Cathlapotle, as the Chinookan town site is known, is the result of a partnership between the Service, the Chinook Tribe, and Portland State University, and has yielded a rich record of daily life on the lower Columbia River both before and at the time of Lewis and Clark's visit. This cultural heritage forms the foundation of the education and interpretation program designed by the EDAW Summer Student Program.

Refuge staff, EDAW staff, Chinook tribal members, and design professionals participated with the students as a team. At the conclusion of the two week workshop, the students prepared a planning document and publicly presented it to the Service and other interested groups and individuals such as the Chinook Tribe, the refuge friends group, community members, city council members, and congressional staff.

The Service is fortunate to have been selected to receive this valuable and exciting professional pro bono service. More information on the EDAW Summer Student Program is available on the EDAW website at

Adapted by Virginia Parks (8/00) from an article by Susan Saul, Outreach Specialist, Office of External Affairs, Portland, Oregon 11/19/99



Last updated: December 20, 2012

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