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Plans for an Enhanced Nature Play

Began in October, 2017

Seventeen people attended the initial organizing meeting of West Ridge Nature Preserve’s Play Area Group on October 23, 2017. The group, which also is a Park Advisory Council committee, addressed recently released guidelines from the Chicago Park District’s Nature Oasis Program and signed up for committees.

The committees include Project Design, Fund Raising, Public Relation, Volunteer Coordination and Secretary/Communications. The Project Design Committee got off to a running start with a proposed plan ready for the second meetings.

The second meeting, on January 13, 2018 attracted 21 community members, some of whom joined committees. Attendees got a sneak preview of our proposed play area design, provided input and learned about our approval progress. 

While we have operated various iterations of a nature play area for approximately two years, the park district required us to go through the mullti-step approval process (Initial Application, Support Petition, Public Meeting, Site and Usage Survey) before we could move forward. 

The meeting also featured two speakers. Teresa Weed, founder, lead teacher and administrator of the Forest Preschool at North Park Nature Center, talked about the benefits of nature play. 

And Sarah Unz, Outdoor and Environmental Education Manager, Chicago Park District, provided information about the park district's new focus on nature play spaces.

Eventually, when the work is completed, the park district will turn over site management to team members. These members will continue to make our Nature Play Area a magical oasis for children and their families as well as school and other groups.

Calling on community members to join the West Ridge Nature Preserve’s Play Area Team. Express your interest on the Contact page.

We are pleased by the interest already shown by parents who frequent our Nature Play Area and Family Nature Days. We are reaching out to them to become committee members and site volunteers. It is the community that drives this process.

Follow the link to access the Chicago Park District's community guidelines for nature play areas

More families are using this area every day, including the picnickers in the photo above. The Nature Play Area is open every day all day.

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