PLAYFUL INSTALLATION – Jay Wood of Bienenstock Nature Playgrounds puts the finishing touches on the spider crawler

City’s first nature-based playground set to open

Central Alberta’s first nature-based playground at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre is set to open to the public early next month.

Work on the playground has commenced throughout the summer and the final touches will be added during a ‘community worker bee’ slated for Oct. 4th. Members of the public are encouraged to volunteer their time that day to help spread 183 cubic yards of cedar mulch throughout the playground.

Those wanting to volunteer are asked to RSVP to the Kerry Wood Nature Centre. Participants are also asked to bring rakes, shovels and wheelbarrows if they have them.

A community barbeque will be held after the worker bee event.

“We have wanted to do this for a long time,” said Todd Nivens, program coordinator for the Kerry Wood Nature Centre. “We often see the traditional playgrounds that are made out of metal and plastic with bright colours and are perfectly landscaped. Those are great at getting kids active, but we wanted to expose kids to natural spaces and reintroduce them to playing in nature. Kids are losing touch with that.”

The materials used in the playground are wood and stone. Earlier this year, the City cleared a number of trees along 67th St. and 30th Ave. Some of the larger trees which were removed were used for the natural playground site. As well, the stone was used from other projects the City has undertaken.

“The great thing is that this project didn’t cause anything to be cut. We used materials that were already available to us,” said Nivens.

All of the materials at the playground are natural with the exception of one plastic slide.

“We wanted to include that to invite families to come and play on it – so they would know that it is ok.”

The land that the playground is located on at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre was previously disturbed when the septic tanks were put in in the 1980s.

“The growth that is on that particular area was second growth, so no original habitat was disturbed, which is really great too.”

Nivens added the playground will add much to the community.

“We have had tremendous community support with this project,” he said. “It will give the community another free activity to do, it is multi-seasonal and it’s a way to easily reconnect with nature. Kids can go out and play, get dirty if they want, and it’s a safe dynamic place to do that.”

The playground is set to open to the public on Oct. 6th.

For more information about the playground, or to RSVP for the ‘community worker bee’ event, call the Kerry Wood Nature Centre at 403-346-2010.

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com

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