Trees at Playspaces

April 15, 2010
1:00 – 2:00pm EDT
National Webcast
Trees and landscaping are sometimes considered “extras” when it comes to playspaces and can be the first on the budget chopping block, but they are integral elements of a healthy play and learning environment for children. Incorporating trees at playspaces improves the aesthetics, provides shade to reduce children’s exposure to UV rays, and cleans the air to help prevent asthma and promote healthy lung function. By introducing nature into the play environment, trees can also spark children’s imagination and creativity. It’s time to reconsider landscaping “extras” and begin to see trees as critical components of successful playspaces.

Downloadable Resources:
Trees at Playspaces Resource List
Dave Flanigan, Director of Operations, KaBOOM! (Washington, DC)
KaBOOM! is a national nonprofit organization that envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. Since 1995, KaBOOM! has used its innovative community-build model to bring together business and community interests to construct more than 1,700 new playgrounds, skate parks, sports fields, and ice rinks across North America. Many of KaBOOM!’s featured side projects involve planting trees, flowers, and gardens to ensure playspaces for children are healthy and green.
Kathleen Ownby, Executive Director, SPARK Park (Houston, TX)
Developed in 1983 as a way to increase park space in Houston, Texas, SPARK School Park Program is a 501c3 nonprofit organization operating out of the City of Houston Mayor’s office. Created to develop public school grounds into neighborhood parks and aligned with city resources through the Houston Parks Board, school district, and city departments, SPARK works directly with schools and community groups to plan and enact park development projects. SPARK plants trees at every project and also hires a landscape architect to help with project design with input from students and the wider school community.
Webcast attendees will learn about:
* Incorporating landscaping and trees into playground construction plans.
* Working with local partners to bring a KaBOOM! playground to your neighborhood.
* Educating project funders about the importance of trees in playspaces.
* Greening existing playgrounds in your neighborhood.
* Children’s activities and educational play involving trees and nature.
About the Webcast Series
The Webcast Series is the Alliance for Community Trees’ bimonthly webcast series held at the lunch hour and made possible through support from The Home Depot Foundation and USDA Forest Service. The goal is to create informal training opportunities for local urban and community forestry organizations. The content is geared to mainly serve the needs of volunteer organizations and community groups, although webcasts are open to all.
The trainings leverage local successes by amplifying to a larger audience the model organizations’ methods, materials, and approaches. Sessions are planned to last no more than one hour, with two presenters speaking on the same topic from slightly different perspectives, each for 10-15 minutes, followed by 10-15 minutes of questions and answers.