TRACES, The Recycling and Arts
Center for Education and Sustainability, is a creative recycling center where recovered, discarded and obsolete materials are collected, cleaned, sorted, displayed and redistributed to the Smith College community. Materials that are donated to TRACES by manufacturers, businesses and stores are used in children's creative play and constructions, students' art and school projects and teachers' workshops for professional development. The mission of TRACES is to increase awareness about the potential
uses of recovered materials for educational purposes and for the benefit of the environment.
TRACES was inspired by the ReMida of
Reggio Emilia, Italy. In the spring of 2005, several members of the Fort Hill
community participated in a student/faculty study group led by Dr. Susan Etheredge, associate professor in the department of Education and Child Study, to Reggio Emilia. Among
the participants were Martha Lees, the director of Fort Hill, and Heidi Keirstead '07.
In the spring of 2006 the Fort Hill staff began planning
to create a similar resource in an historic building adjacent
to the Center for Early Childhood Education (CECE). This building, known as the Lyman
estate, had housed the CECE for many years before the new facility was built in
2005. The director, Martha Lees, planned two Praxis internships
for the summer of 2006 to support the development of the creative recycling center.
Heidi Keirstead '07 and Gwen Reichert '07 had
been working at Fort Hill in the studio during the 2005-06 academic year. Their shared interest and enthusiasm for early childhood education and their mutual respect for the environment inspired them to apply for the Praxis internships. They have been responsible for developing TRACES at Fort Hill under the supervision
of the director, Martha Lees.