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

Just Posted

‘Rough waters’: Spill raises new questions about fast-growing N.L. oil industry

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador’s ambitious plans to dramatically expand… Continue reading

Man from Olds killed in collision near Sundre

A 39-year-old man from Olds was killed in a collision near Sundre… Continue reading

Tips to keep crime at bay this Christmas

’Tis the season for joy and celebration, but the Christmas season can… Continue reading

Olympic ski run designer creates upgrades at Canyon Ski Resort

Jeff Ihaksi says free-style and alpine ski venues are Canada Winter Games-worthy

Updated: Collision expert backs version of crash of driver accused of manslaughter

Daniel Newsham accused of manslaughter in fatal 2016 collision

WATCH: More than 100 protest UN migration pact, carbon tax in Red Deer

Chants of “Trudeau must go” echoed through the streets of downtown Red… Continue reading

Baloo the cat is back at home after being mistakenly shipped to Montreal

HALIFAX — Much to the relief of his loving family, Baloo the… Continue reading

‘It’s what we do’: Famous Newfoundlanders help replace veteran’s stolen guitar

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Two famous Newfoundlanders stepped in to help an… Continue reading

Quebec’s anti-corruption unit blames media coverage for recruiting troubles

MONTREAL — Seven years after it was created, Quebec’s anti-corruption unit is… Continue reading

Former PQ cabinet minister poised to become next Bloc Quebecois leader

MONTREAL — It appears likely that Yves-Francois Blanchet, a former Parti Quebecois… Continue reading

J&J hammered by report it knew of asbestos in baby powder

NEW YORK — Johnson & Johnson on Friday forcefully denied a media… Continue reading

Police want direct talk with missing Colorado woman’s fiance

DENVER — An official leading the search for a missing Colorado woman… Continue reading

Death of 7-year-old on border raises questions

WASHINGTON — Just 7 years old, Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin was… Continue reading

Tkachuk’s goal in 3rd gives Flames 2-1 win over Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Matthew Tkachuk scored the go-ahead goal midway through… Continue reading

Most Read