When was the last time you played outside?

Many children, especially in urban areas, do not have access to appropriate environments for natural play.  Cope Environmental Center is working to provide an engaging nature play area for children and families within our community.

Cope is currently in the brainstoming and design phase of a playscape expansion project, striving for a design that better serves our community, furthers our mission in sustainable design, as well as improves the habitat in which the playscape is situated.

But… what is a Nature Playscape?

A Nature Playscape is a playground that is located outside and integrated into the natural landscape. It is an area designated for unstructured, exploratory play within a natural habitat that encourages a love of nature, as well as a place to promote healthy development (physically, emotionally, socially, mentally, and much more!) within members of our community. A Natural Playscape features natural materials and uses as little man-made components as possible.

Children need wild, untamed places. They need to run, climb, jump, and explore the world with all of their senses. Playscapes are a perfect place for children to explore nature, test their potential, and discover the world around them and within them!

Playscapes provide opportunities for children to take safe risks and get messy! Whether it is digging in the soil like a mole, rolling over a log to look for worms, or pretending they are a frog leaping over tree stumps, it is a place for the imagination, for wonder, and for learning not to step on that caterpillar.

“Nature is imperfectly perfect, filled with loose parts and possibilities, with mud and dust, nettles and sky, transcendent hands-on moments and skinned knees.”

                              -Richard Louv

At Cope Environmental Center, we are determined to maintain a sustainable mindset while creating a Natural Playscape that preserves and improves upon the health of the land. Our goal is to use only non-toxic and sustainably sourced materials on this expansion project.  Most of the materials that are to be used will be as local as possible (off of Cope’s property, and within the boundaries of Wayne Co. Indiana). No wood from outside the county will be utilized to prevent the spread of non-native and invasive species, including the Emerald Ash Borer Beetle. Only native, non-invasive plants and non-invasive edible garden variety plants will be included in the design.

Keep an eye out for future changes as Cope staff and volunteers work through the design process and begin making additions!

Come out to Cope to play, today!