We Dreamed Of A Place To Play
Children need to know who they are, and where they are, to become engaged in the natural world. It has become clear through research that unless a child has a chance to play outside in an unrestricted, “natural” area, he or she has little chance of developing an empathy with animals and nature. Unless that is developed, the child has little reason to be concerned with the environment and his or her impact on it.
Some members of the PRM community were aware of this need for “wild” play, and soon after the new building opened in 2008, thoughts and plans for how this might occur began taking shape. Finally, after open meetings with the PRM community, and preliminary design work by Caitlin Seigel Hartzler, Kate LaBare and Ruth Anne Wolfe, in partnership with Groundwork Cincinnati (formerly Mill Creek Restoration), the idea was brought forward to the PRM community as the focus of the 2010/2011 Annual Fund Drive. Then a wonderful partnership was formed with Wes Duren of Marvin’s Organic Gardens (who donated all of the stone for the project), and together we installed an amazing “Adventure Playscape” behind the existing playground equipment. Special thanks go to Caitlin Seigel Hartzler and Ruth Anne Wolfe who oversaw the project from start to finish.
Where there once was a barren slope of weedy grass there is now a terraced wonderland of trails and steps. These lead to an “underground” tube slide, a willow tree grove, knotted rope hand-over-hand play elements, and a trail leading through shady woods. The community came together for a PRM day and a GoCincinnati day to plant native species, cut out honeysuckle, and spread wood chips.
Lots of work – to raise the money, design the project, and see it through. It is all worth it when we can see students who may never have a chance to go to a park or play in the woods bounding through the adventure trail with joy and wonder in their eyes.
This is what we can do, here, with our time, our money, and our love.
We can make things better. This is what we do at PRM.
UPDATE! The rainy spring of 2018 has damaged some parts of the naturescape, but once again the community is working together to raise funds to fix the naturescape!
- How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature
Helping parents rework kids’ relationships with nature.
- Can Returning Farmland to the Wild Help Bumblebees in Crisis?
Even if only a small percentage of current farmland became wild meadows, it could bring populations back to previous levels. Read more…
- Find outdoor activities for your child at nature.org/naturerocks