In 2011, work was begun on several outdoor features: an interpretive nature trail, an outdoor classroom, and a rain garden.
The nature trail that winds through the woods behind the Community Center is highlighted by eleven different species of trees, all soon to be identified by interpretive signs. These include a climbable box elder (a great photo prop!), slippery elm, and a massive oak that marks the trail entrance. A brochure describing plant life along the trail is planned.
Located in a clearing midway along the trail, the outdoor classroom provides numerous benches for outdoor educational activities. Teachers, parents, and group leaders of all kinds are welcome to make use of this space.
Our rain garden is a living demonstration of conservation at work. Roughly a third of the runoff from the Community Center’s 12,000-square-foot roof is diverted to the garden, where plants and multiple soil layers filter runoff before it enters the groundwater system.
The garden includes native plants such as coneflowers and cardinal plants, which will not require fertilizer, are tolerant of the local climate, soil, and water conditions, and will attract native birds and butterflies. A wooden bridge provides up-close views of the garden and the many species of butterflies and birds it attracts.
Shaded by the oak at the entrance to the nature trail, a picnic table provides a vantage of both the playground and the rain garden. Together, these features encourage our planners’ “no child left indoors” philosophy.