A park in tune with nature

As outdoor parks go, a new one in Red Deer will sound unlike any other one in Alberta. The Kiwanis Harmony Garden at Kerry Wood Nature Centre is going to be a fully accessible space where anyone can try their musicality out in natural surroundings.

As outdoor parks go, a new one in Red Deer will sound unlike any other one in Alberta.

The Kiwanis Harmony Garden at Kerry Wood Nature Centre is going to be a fully accessible space where anyone can try their musicality out in natural surroundings.

“It’s very, very cool,” said Todd Nivens, programs co-ordinator for Waskasoo Environmental Education Society.

The garden, which is to open on Oct. 2, will have a variety of permanent percussion instruments in an 1,100-sq.ft outdoor area at the nature centre.

There will be a mixture of tuned percussion, hand percussion and mallet playable percussion instruments.

The fencing that will separate from the parking lot will be tuned percussion pipes. There’s also a marimba, xylophone, and soaring amadinda (like a vertical xylophone) and then an assortment of hand-playable and mallet-playable drums, said Nivens.

Instruments will be mounted on pressure-treated wood, or steel posts, depending on the instrument.

Nivens became aware of the harmony garden idea when he took his children to one in Utah a few years ago. They played in it for hours. Park interpreters played musical hide and seek for example, where they played a sound and children had to go to one of the instruments and see if they could replicate it. In another instance, the children tried to replicate sounds they hear in nature.

It’s a nice coming together of guided interpretive learning as well as musical free play, he said. “It ties into that music as being one of the common languages of learning.”

Currently musicians and others are training the nature centre’s interpreters on how to teach music theory. A high school percussion ensemble is going to try and play a tune on the park instruments on opening day.

The accessible interactive music play space will be adjacent to the Imagination Grove nature-based playground, east of the parking lot. It will have a special surface so anyone who has mobility issues or some physical challenges, or uses power wheelchairs or scooters, will be able to get into and use the space. Grass will grow up through the surface so it will be an accessible surface that doesn’t look like one, said Nivens.

The fence around the space will be edible, including Saskatoon and raspberry shrubs, he said.

“Not only can you play in the park but you can eat the park.”

The cost of the garden is $140,000. The Kiwanis Club of Red Deer and the Twilight Homes Foundation have partnered and will fund the entire park, if necessary, Nivens said.

Recently the nature centre received a $50,000 federal grant, some of which will go to Harmony Gardens to make it accessible to everyone.

The same company that built the Imagination Grove, Beinenstock Natural Playgrounds, is building the harmony garden. Construction starts in the third week of September.

“It will be a place where people of all abilities, all cultures, all languages … come together around music,” Nivens said.

barr@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Only 13 new COVID-19 cases confirmed by Alberta gov’t Saturday

There’s currently only two active cases in province’s central zone

Food Truck Fridays to start new Drive and Dash events next week

Events will be held in Westerner Park parking lot Thursday evenings, Friday afternoons all June

Alberta gov’t to expand mental health supports

The Government of Alberta says a $21.6-million investment will expand online resources… Continue reading

City of Red Deer encouraged residents to participate in Food Bank Ninja Challenge

The City of Red Deer is encouraging residents to participate in a… Continue reading

READER VIDEO: American White Pelicans spotted in Red Deer River

A Red Deer Advocate reader spotted a group of American White Pelicans… Continue reading

Protesters rally in Toronto against anti-black, Indigenous racism

TORONTO — Thousands of people are taking part in a rally on… Continue reading

Another COVID-19 case reported in northern New Brunswick on Saturday

CAMPBELLTON, N.B. — People from a city in northern New Brunswick lined… Continue reading

B.C. sees second day in a row with no COVID-19 deaths as schools ready to reopen

VICTORIA — British Columbia announced no new deaths from COVID-19 for the… Continue reading

UN sets pandemic voting rules for Canada’s Security Council campaign

OTTAWA — The United Nations has confirmed that the election for non-permanent… Continue reading

Police watchdog investigating death of Richmond man

RICHMOND, B.C. — British Columbia’s police watchdog has been called in to… Continue reading

COVID-19 cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a B.C. mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Tooting the importance of whistling

OK, so someone who tattles on another person is a whistleblower, and… Continue reading

Police see increase in speedy drivers on quieter streets during pandemic

Police across the country say they’ve been dealing with more complaints about loud, fast vehicles

Most Read