On July 17, the Youth and Family Program helped celebrate the grand re-opening of the nature play space at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship (BRCES). The event featured informational booths from the project partners, Play Rangers to engage parents on the benefits of nature play, a guided tour of Mountain View Farm, giveaways and of course, plenty of time to “get outside and play.” Families had a great time exploring the new nature play area and connecting with the local conservation community.
The nature play area has been in development over the last year as a safely-distanced project during COVID. Funded by a generous grant from the Virginia Association for Environmental Education, it is a collaborative project between BRCES, Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, Virginia Master Naturalist Banshee Reeks Chapter, and community youth and adult volunteers. The space addresses children’s need and fundamental right to connect with nature, by respecting the inherent way that children interact with the world through play. From a dirt digging area, a wooden stage fit for any performance backed up by bamboo windchimes, to “Sticktown” and mud kitchens, each area provides opportunities for children to build their gross and fine motor skills, problem-solving skills and community collaboration while developing a life long commitment to conserving nature.