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Connecting Nature to Children

August 19, 2016 9:39 AM

CentroThe City of Madison Parks Division and Public Health of Madison and Dane County had the privilege of working with several Wanda Fullmore interns this summer. Six of the PHMDC interns focused their work on learning about how kids in Madison connect with nature by surveying youth around the City. They also learned about the many benefits of nature play. The internships are part of the Connecting Nature to Children planning grant awarded to Madison earlier this year. The grant is focused on increasing equitable access to nature and engaging youth leaders, emphasizing work with organizations serving youth and families of color. As a part of this project, the interns have been creating a nature-based play space at Centro Hispano of Dane County. Centro's vegetable garden was in need of a space for kids to play while parents are tending to the plants. Centro also offers free childcare for community members participating in classes, and expressed their need for some engaging outdoor structures for youth.

Through the design and construction deliveryof this play area, the interns participated in collaborative landscape design, learned how to use digital design programs with help from UW's Environmental Design Lab, and interfaced with Madison Parks forestry section who cut and delivered an assortment of logs, tree stumps and tree cookies for use as tables, benches, and the frame of a sandbox. They also have worked with staff and volunteers of Centro Hispano, becoming extended members of the Centro family.

In total, forestry staff who took on the special project provided approximately 12 logs, 10 tree stumps and 50 tree cookies. Parks Operation delivered an estimated 3,000 pounds of mulch.

Eric Knepp
Madison Parks Superintendent

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