Authentic Nature is Our Greatest Amenity

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 Authentic Nature is Our Greatest Amenity

A playground among stormwater detention ponds and bioswales?  That's what TBG Partners has created, where kids can get back to playing in nature:

"On a sticky Saturday morning, a pickerel frog lets out a slow, steady snore as he perches proudly in his newly found, tiered-pond paradise. Just below the water’s surface, dozens of intrepid tadpoles dine on algae — while others succumb to schools of hungry fish on the prowl for a morning snack. Aquatic plants shimmer in the sunlight, as ever-evolving shadows cast from bald cypress branches sway to wind-swept rhythms across the wetland wonderland. A great blue heron drops in for a closer look when the proud pickerel frog catches her eye.

Just beyond this nature show scene, the smiling faces of children explore the setting and make memories they’ll cherish for ages. Some wade in the muck searching for crawfish and frogs, others skip stones and trade playful taunts in friendly competition, while still others stack rocks and sticks to build whatever their creativity can concoct. The scene is a throwback to days of yore when summers and weekends were simple yet whimsical, nearby and nature-filled, immersive and imaginative.

Surprisingly, the setting of this informal play is not a school-sponsored visit to a local nature preserve or state park, nor is it the aging memory of exploratory children raised near marshes and coastal bends. This lush and thriving ecosystem exists right in the middle of a master-planned community in greater Houston — and for some fortunate kids, the journey from home to natural exploration doesn’t even require crossing the street."

In this article on the Land8 Landscape Architects Network blog, Meade Mitchell shares about how their design team is utilizing wetlands for new play areas at Riverstone development in Houston.  This innovative thinking is part of a paradigm shift: moving beyond playgrounds and splash pads to more naturalistic amenities — and encouraging active engagement with them.   He says "The wetland park was the biggest leap of faith yet — the boldest, most unconventional play environment we’ve created together — and its ability to engage kids, and adults, with nature brings our design team immense pride."

Read the full interesting article here.  Source: Land8 Blog

Authentic Nature is Our Greatest Amenity