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Bernheim Forest gets $700k donation and 100 tons of boulders for its unique ‘Play-cosystem’

Bernheim Forest introduced its ‘Play-cosystem’ concept as a natural way for kids to play and learn about nature. The concept includes no monkey bars, swing sets, or plastic slides; but instead dirt, sticks and trees. On Tuesday, the park announced the donation of a $700k grant from the James Graham Brown Foundation to fund the play-cosystem’s second and third phases.”It’s about natural play,” said Dr. Mark Wourms, the executive director of Bernheim Forest, “What’s been shown is natural play is important for childhood development, creativity, problem solving, social skills … and that’s what play-cosystem is about.” Those phases will include an ADA-accessible tree house, 1o acres of fenced-in forest for kids to explore, and over 100 tons of boulders to climb on.The boulders were donated from a local family in Bardstown, the Padgetts. “We donated about 20 rocks,” said Brandi Padgett as she held her 14-month-old son. “We know how important it is for kids to have play. We have little ones ourselves. So we’re really excited to bring them here to play on them one day.”The boulders are natural limestone, with 250 million-year-old fossils embedded in them. “Everything about play ecosystem was about discovery, so here you’ll be able to come and discover crinoid stems and other sea creatures that lived here in Kentucky when Kentucky was under the ocean,” said Dr. Wourms. The Play-cosystem is planned to be fully finished and open to the public by next summer.

Bernheim Forest introduced its ‘Play-cosystem’ concept as a natural way for kids to play and learn about nature. The concept includes no monkey bars, swing sets, or plastic slides; but instead dirt, sticks and trees.

On Tuesday, the park announced the donation of a $700k grant from the James Graham Brown Foundation to fund the play-cosystem’s second and third phases.

“It’s about natural play,” said Dr. Mark Wourms, the executive director of Bernheim Forest, “What’s been shown is natural play is important for childhood development, creativity, problem solving, social skills … and that’s what play-cosystem is about.”

Those phases will include an ADA-accessible tree house, 1o acres of fenced-in forest for kids to explore, and over 100 tons of boulders to climb on.

The boulders were donated from a local family in Bardstown, the Padgetts.

“We donated about 20 rocks,” said Brandi Padgett as she held her 14-month-old son. “We know how important it is for kids to have play. We have little ones ourselves. So we’re really excited to bring them here to play on them one day.”

The boulders are natural limestone, with 250 million-year-old fossils embedded in them.

“Everything about play ecosystem was about discovery, so here you’ll be able to come and discover crinoid stems and other sea creatures that lived here in Kentucky when Kentucky was under the ocean,” said Dr. Wourms.

The Play-cosystem is planned to be fully finished and open to the public by next summer.



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