The Kerry Wood Nature Centre wants to bring play back by bridging the great urban and natural divide.
The centre will open a nature playground allowing children of all ages to have fun in the woods without the fear of stranger danger, getting lost or hurt.
With all the features, the playground comes with a $300,000 price tag.
The centre has raised about $150,000 and has partnered with Parkland Mall in its annual Shades of Ambition fundraising campaign. It plans to open the playground on the August long weekend.
The earthy playground will wrap around the north end of the nature centre between the parking lot and the Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary.
The playground will not infringe on the sanctuary.
Some of the features include an amphitheatre on the grassy slope outside the bookstore’s windows, benches, rope courses, and school class area at the north west corner of the building.
Most of the playground features will be directly north of the centre.
“A lot of people are not getting the opportunity to get out into the natural world and just play,” said Jim Robertson, Kerry Wood Nature Centre executive director.
“What we are doing is building that intermediate bridge between living in a completely urban environment and getting out in a completely natural area.”
Robertson said the equipment and features will be certified and playground friendly.
He said the whole idea is to get children outside and feel comfortable and warm and fuzzy about nature rather than nature is scary and separate.
“This may just be the start,” said Robertson. “Next year if we want to find more money we can add another feature or two and expand it slightly.”
Work is expected to get underway in the spring.
Between March 20 and 30, the centre will sell titles for $10 each to fill a mural.
For every title sold, the mall will match to a maximum of $5,000. Volunteers will be at the mall between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. during the drive to provide information about its programs and collect donations.
The playground is part of the 2013 interpretive master plan for Waskasoo Park. The centre has been working on the project for about six months.
To find out more about the centre, visit www.waskasoopark.ca or visit www.parklandmall.ca and click on events and promotions.