Construction is wrapping up at Pond Cove Elementary School, where volunteers and community partners have been working tirelessly to renew and rebuild the playground. This includes a refresh of the Natureland outdoor classroom, which the CELT Education Committee helped to develop in 2008 and 2009, after teachers expressed a need to better engage their students in science, natural history and experiential learning.
The $300,000 renewal project is spearheaded by the Pond Cove Playground Committee, who spent the better part of the last five years assembling the team, vision, and partnerships necessary to transform the space into a natural playground that combines both traditional schoolyard features like swings and a basketball court with organic, imaginative areas including a boat play section, a tree fort, and numerous climbing structures.
At one end of the playground is a large gazebo, which has been used since 2008 both for play and as an outdoor classroom. The focal point of Natureland, classes can use this flexible space just to get a break from the classroom, or in conjunction with other nearby features like raised beds. CELT Volunteer Tony Owens was one of the forces behind the original construction, and volunteered time this summer to renovating the space for continued use. Supported in part by a CELT Education Mini-Grant and the hard work of another long-time CELT volunteer Bob Dawson, Tony estimates that the renewed gazebo should be good to go for another twenty years.
The raised beds also received a facelift. They are now higher off the ground, feature a cap around the top that can function as a writing surface or bench, and even have a plexiglass root-viewing window for students to keep an eye on their plants from both above and below.
The playground committee will be hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony on September 28th at 2PM. All are welcome!