We reached a great milestone recently in Centennial Park with the first tree planted in the Ian Potter Children’s WILD PLAY Garden! This planting is significant as it marks the beginning of 10,000 new green additions including over 180 trees to be planted in the Garden – and that’s a whole lot of new greenery!
The first tree planted was a Watergum (Tristaniopsis), a native tree species to Australia usually seen to grow near the eastern coastline and along the banks of streams, which will perfectly complement the artisan water play area of the Garden.
Why is this important?
Natural environments are important not only for children to play in, explore and grow up with, but plants and trees are a living play element for them to have sensory experiences with while relaxing and being active in a natural space.
The Natural Learning Initiative in North Carolina (USA) has carried out extensive research on the effects of nature on children reporting that aside from the obvious physical benefits a dose of nature aids in cognitive and social development, increased concentration and well-being.
Our aim for the Garden is to create a new and unique wild play type of environment which will provide children with the opportunity to reconnect with nature at a time when many have rapidly decreasing access to nature and the outdoors.
So in saying that every single plant and tree you will see in the Garden has been hand-selected by our dedicated team to ensure we not only create these connections and experiences for children but create something very unique for the children of NSW and our future generations.
First sneak peek…
Construction is progressing well. We have completed site excavations, the main mound and tunnel, certain paths and stairs. The water play section, Tree House, landscaping and accessible pathways are scheduled to go in next and we are on track for a spring opening.
Here is a sneak peek of what is happening behind the scenes on site…
The Ian Potter Children’s Wild Play Garden will provide an outdoor learning experience for children aged 2-12, of all abilities and backgrounds, enabling a ‘whole-of-life’ approach to education. Located adjacent to the existing Education Precinct off Dickens Drive in Centennial Park, the Garden will consist of dedicated natural spaces including Artesian water play, creek beds, bamboo forests and outdoor classrooms, all designed to inspire and encourage children to engage in exciting, creative and imaginative outdoor ‘wild play’.
This $4 million project has received valuable funding support from The Ian Potter Foundation, whose incredible support of $1.5 million has enabled the project to progress from dream to reality.
The Centennial Parklands Foundation continues to raise funds for this very exciting project. If you would like help by donating to this great cause please contact the Foundation on (02) 9339 6633 or find out more here.