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Young Naturalist Garden Encourages Natural Play

ASHEVILLE NC – The Friends of the WNC Nature Center is proud to announce the opening of the Young Naturalist Garden at the WNC Nature Center. The garden, which reinvents the old recycling area of the park, provides a venue for unstructured natural play.

“Natural play is of profound importance to the development of young people,” says WNC Nature Center Education Specialist Dan Clere. “It’s an aspect of many young people’s lives that is missing today.”

Elements of the Young Naturalist garden include fort-building materials like stones and branches, a nature art table where children can create ephemeral art sculptures, a faux window flower box for exploring creative design, and a puppet theatre.

Throughout the summer the Nature Center also provides a free liatris flower to each family to take home to continue the interactive experience. The space is shady with benches for parents, providing a comfortable space for a family to relax during their visit.

Thanks to support from the community and Friends members, materials for the project were purchased from a donation of $5,000 that the Friends provided to the City of Asheville to enhance educational opportunities at the Nature Center.  Special thanks to all the volunteers who assisted in the construction of the garden, including Erwin High School, Kathleen Lewis of Southern Décor, Charlie Dunlop, Glen and Patti Liming, and Jeff and Paula Snyder.

The Friends’ mission is to support the programs, facilities and the residents of the Western North Carolina Nature Center, which showcases the fauna and flora of the southern Appalachian region. The WNC Nature Center connects people with the animals and plants of the Southern Appalachian Mountain region by inspiring appreciation, nurturing understanding, and advancing conservation of the region’s rich biodiversity. For more information on the Friends of the WNC Nature Center, or to join the Friends and support future projects, visit www.wildwnc.org .


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