PlayCore Awards NatureGrounds National Demonstration Site Award

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Ketchum, OK, NatureGrounds Park promotes best practice through integration of manufactured play equipment with the living landscape.

Natural play site at Ketchum, OK before the build taking place June 13, 2015

A generation ago, playing outdoors in nature was usually taken for granted, but times have changed. Now, nature must be deliberately designed back into children's lives. -NLI's Robin Moore

PlayCore has partnered with the Natural Learning Initiative, College of Design, NC State University (NLI), to develop the guidebook NatureGrounds: Creating and Retrofitting Play Environments, Best Practice Guidelines, and help professional and community activists promote naturalized playgrounds. The town of Ketchum is working closely with the local Native American Association and Nick Whisenhunt, the local GameTime representative from Cunningham Recreation, to create their own NatureGrounds project, earning them the National Demonstration Site designation. The site features a play area that utilizes existing topography such as trees, shrubs and grasses. The multiple benefits of a NatureGrounds playground include: play value, child development, health benefits, and environmental sustainability, all achieved by blending the built environment with the living landscape.

The project will kick off with the build day, using volunteers from the community of Ketchum, scheduled to take place Saturday, June 13, 2015.

“The Native American Association is a non-profit organization that works to make our community stronger. We are in the process of installing our first community park on two acres of land surrounded by trees. Our goal is to offer a place with real play time for the children, serve as a gathering place to bring family and friends together while connecting with nature.” said Lisa Evans of Ketchum, OK. “We plan to have playground structures, swings, and independent play elements, while incorporating local environmental resources and culture into our park. We plan to bring our citizens together and use the wealth of skills, materials, and ideas for a community park that is community built. We will include patches of milkweed for visitors to enjoy the Monarch butterflies. We will incorporate a garden, and use the skills of community members to carve wooden animals that can be seen in the natural environment. Our park will serve as a place for the community to come together and enjoy the park and its natural playscape environment”

The new National Demonstration Site will be listed on the National NatureGrounds locator at To receive a copy of the NatureGrounds educational guidebook, send a request to info(at)playcore(dot)com.

About PlayCore: PlayCore helps build stronger communities around the world by advancing play through research, education, and partnerships. The company infuses this learning into its complete family of brands. PlayCore combines best in class planning and education programs with the most comprehensive array of recreation products available to create play solutions that match the unique needs of the each community they serve. Learn more at

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Jessica Holder
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