Arbor Day Foundation, Dimensions Educational Research Foundation, Trees Forever and Backyard Abundance present…
Creating Nature Explore Playscapes
Transforming yards into places where children thrive.
Are you a family that would like to have your yard transformed into an educational and environmentally-beneficial space? Join the movement to help children of all ages improve learning, cooperation, sharing, and problem solving skills by attending this community forum and playscape tour.
The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required. Please register here by June 14.
Nature Explore is an innovative collaboration between Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation to create dynamic, nature-based play and learning spaces where children of all ages thrive. Research-based and field-tested principles provide a foundation for the design of these beautiful environments. Learn more: Visit the Nature Explore website.
Playscapes in Yards
Nature Explore playscapes are being built across the country in response to the growing disconnect between children and nature. They include interactive elements such as musical instruments made of natural materials, climbing structures, wooden blocks, small waterways, garden areas, and natural materials for building and creating art. These beautiful environments are typically created at schools and childcare centers. Backyard Abundance is partnering with Arbor Day and Dimensions to bring these areas to residential yards.
We seek 5 families in the Iowa City area who are interested in transforming their yard into a Nature Explore playscape. We also need community members who are interested in learning about these spaces through implementation assistance. More information about applying for free design consultations and helping with implementations will be provided at the forum.
If you are interested in applying for the grant, the application should be completed by Friday, July 8. View the grant details and application.
The event will begin with a community forum in Room A at the Iowa City Public Library. We will then take tours of local Nature Explore playscapes to experience their benefits firsthand.
12:30 pm - 1:00 pm: Check in
1:00 pm - 3:30 pm: Community forum
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm: Playscape Tour: Iowa City Rec Center, 220 South Gilbert Street
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm: Playscape Tour: Home of Tony Malkusak, 5051 Faye Drive
John Rosenow, founder and director of the Arbor Day Foundation, will describe how children’s immersion in nature benefits the health of our environment. He will also provide a vision for a community that fully embraces environmental education.
Learn more about Arbor Day programs: Visit the Arbor Day website.
Nancy Rosenow, founder and director of the Dimensions Educational Research Foundation, will present in-depth research showing how children’s wellness and cognitive development increase when immersed in healthy, natural environments.
Learn more about the research: Visit the Dimensions website.
Local schools and childcare centers will share stories of how they transformed their traditional playgrounds into Nature Explore Classrooms. They will describe how these spaces benefitted children, teachers, and parents.
See existing playscapes: Visit the Nature Explore website.
After the forum, we will tour the Children’s Discovery Garden at the Iowa City Recreation Center. This playspace was designed by Backyard Abundance in partnership with the Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department. We will then tour the backyard playscape of Tony Malkusak, the first resident to receive the Nature Explore certification. See the Children's Discovery Garden: Visit the Backyard Abundance portfolio.