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

Ham radio operators in central Alberta tune in

Amateur radio enthusiasts in central Alberta tuned in for the weekend. Central… Continue reading

Winners crowned at 19th Woody’s Triathlon

The rain held off all weekend and made for great conditions for the more than 500 competitors

‘Clients fall off:’ Calgary program helps recently released prisoners with hep C

CALGARY — Imagine adjusting to life after serving prison time, then add… Continue reading

Five members of the same family now charged in relation to death of Kiran Dhesi

SURREY, B.C. — The RCMP made two arrests on Friday in connection… Continue reading

Rock climber suffers fatal fall on the Stawamus Chief overlooking Squamish, B.C.

SQUAMISH, B.C. — Police say a rock climber fell to his death… Continue reading

WATCH: Hundreds run in the 5K Foam Fest in Red Deer

The annual event took place at Heritage Ranch on Saturday

UK: Police visit incident dogs Johnson’s leadership campaign

LONDON — The leading contender to become Britain’s next prime minister is… Continue reading

Trump: ‘Surprise’ question about Pence led him to hesitate

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says he hesitated when asked about endorsing… Continue reading

Indigenous drummers lead pipeline protesters on 22-kilometre march in Victoria

VICTORIA — The government approval of the Trans-Mountain pipeline expansion won’t stop… Continue reading

Retired UBC professor Peter Winterburn killed in Chile, school confirms

VALPARAISO, Chile — A retired geochemistry professor from the University of British… Continue reading

Sask. Premier Scott Moe participates in Pride parade in Saskatoon

SASKATOON — Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe participated in his first Pride parade… Continue reading

Parents of soldier killed in parachute exercise ask for thorough investigation

OTTAWA — The remains of the Canadian soldier killed in a parachute-training… Continue reading

Despite billions in new spending, Duclos still sees ‘affordability’ gaps

OTTAWA — Despite billions of dollars in new spending over the last… Continue reading

Most Read