Muddle the Puddle, Transformed

Everett, MA
Lead Designer, in collaboration with the City of Everett and 8th graders at the Madeline English School.

Through research, observation on the trail, meeting people who are stewards along the trail, and looking at maps, I worked with students to detect patterns and read the landscape, learn about plant communities and the movement of water. With this foundation, we designed a new rain garden  at the entrance/exit to the Northern Strand Community trail at the end of Wyllis Ave, on the Malden/Everett line. I worked with the City of Everett DPW and National Grid to build the garden. 


We turned a persistent puddle into a rain garden with murals, cloud benches, and plants that attract bees, butterflies and birds. It’s a climate resilience project that ties in with the City’s larger efforts to restore ecology and public access to the landscape, which had been degraded by industry. I’m going to name folks who played a role, not just to highlight the importance of their involvement, but to also share a little about how many moving parts can happen in community engaged public art projects. We dedicated the garden to Jon Norton, a longtime Chair of the Conservation Commission, advocating for recycling and waterfront access to the Malden River since the 80’s, and turning an old rail bed into a community trail. I got to emcee and thank him and all the people who made the garden happen. From the City of Everett: Mayor DeMaria, Tony Sousa and Maria Josefson from the planning department, Greg Saint Louis and Mike Russo from the DPW, art department head Amanda Gil, Communication Director Tom Philbin, who was the main propeller of this project from the City. Superintendent Janice Gauthier, Madeline English School Principal Theresa Tringale, science teacher Bruce Jaffe, student designers Leticia Aiala, Emmily Veras, Laura Teresa Castilho, Mathew Fonseca, Philip Fonseca, Ferdolsa Guilluame, Margie Martinez Zuniga, Cindy Nguyen, Heidi Orellana Ramos, Kelita Pinto, Gennecis Romero, Lamiah Wyzard. Muralists Sophy Tuttle, Amanda Hill, and Julie Saint Louis translated the students design ideas into reality, and the Samtan Engineering Company next door let us paint on their building and use their electricity and bathroom. Amber Christofferson from Mystic River Watershed provided valuable guidance, and got Becky Rupel from Copley Wolff on board, who helped with the planting plan. National Grid paid for plants and Caruso and Sons installed them. Folx from Restoring Roots installed edging, and did some path repair and plant care. Making this all possible was a climate resilience grant from the Barr Foundation, administered by Darci Schofield from The Metropolitan Area Planning Council.


Students working on their schematic designs.


Student Designer Lamiah Wyzard found the quote “Like a Lotus flower, we too have the ability to rise from the mud, bloom out of the darkness and radiate into the world.” It summed up the spirit of the project and what we hope will inspire others.




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