Nature’s Discovery Play Area

Nature’s Discovery Play Area

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Short Summary

Ned Smith spent a lifetime connecting nature, people and the arts. Our mission remains the same, to merge the arts and the natural world and foster a celebration of both. We have started a peer-to-peer crwodfunding campaign to help us fund an all natural play area. 
We believe that children should play outside; that outdoor play contributes to skills they can use in the future and good health. For this reason we are adding an area where kids can just be kids, get dirty, use their imagination and explore. This play area will be called Nature’s Discovery Play Area and its mission is “to provide an outdoor ‘yes’ space for children of all ages to gather and discover the textures, sights, smells and value of the natural world while exploring and interacting with natural elements such as wood, stone, dirt, water and plants in a self-directed and unstructured manner.”
Phase one of the play area will include three major features:
The Burrow, similar to an open roofed bunker, this is an area that is dug out to gently slope below the normal level of the ground and is reinforced by locally harvested logs. 
The Tree Fort, octagonal in shape, this low to the ground platform will be less than 4 feet off the ground, enclose three trees and have a rustic branch railing, Children will be able to access the platform in a variety of ways which will include a climbing wall and rope swing.
The Water Feature, this small stream will allow children to explore a miniature “river bed”. The water will be shallow and the bed made of cement and rocks. The water will flow down the stream and magically disappear into the ground where it will be recycled through and used again.

What We Need 

The basis of this project is estimated to cost just under $50,000. We have received very generous support from private donations and currently have $39,500. Without another $10,000 we will not be able to complete the first phase of our project and open the Nature’s Discovery Play Area without one of the major features. The more money we raise over the $10,000 the more features we can add to the play area such as balance beam logs, a sensory exploration path, fossil dig area and so much more. 

Risks & Challenges

Our biggest challenge, as with many other non-profits is funding. Should we not hit our $10,000 goal we will not be able to complete all aspects of the play area that we envisioned. More money means more elements of the play area. We would love to be able to give the children who come to the Center everything on our list. We believe that it is truly an important aspect to childhood and leads to creative, freethinking, problem solvers.

Other Ways You Can Help

We appreciate all of the support we can get, but we know that some can’t afford to financially help out. That’s OK, you can help by sharing our campaign on social media, talking to your friends and family or writing a letter to the editor of your local paper. Anything that helps other people find out about the Ned Smith Center, our mission and our project.