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Playscape community build – Get involved!

If you are interested in participating in the community build, please fill out the follow survey and read the letter below for more information:


Dear Birchtree Parents, Grandparents and Friends:

The time has finally come to build the next phase of our playscape!

As you know, all the elements of the playscape have been requested by parents, teachers and students over the past year and a half.  Teachers were asked for lists of wants and needs in the playscape at special meetings for that purpose beginning last year. In addition to invitations to attend playscape organizational meetings, parents were asked to write their favorite playground ideas at the auction last year. This list has been an integral part of the process. Students were interviewed both by the Palmer Water and Conservation group for schoolyard habitat and by Leon Smith of Planet Earth Playscapes.  Leon brought all these elements together this year and ran a community brainstorming evening session where those present (teachers, admin and parents) prioritized elements and put them into a cohesive plan.  Leon drew up the overall design based on everyone’s input.  That is the drawing you see posted on the hallway inside the front doors.

The playscape committee which has included parents, teachers and administration was stalled out for lack of funding for much of this year but a series of breakthroughs in that arena at the District level have made it possible for the project to continue. The committee has met repeatedly this spring and once funding was secured asked Leon to create the detail drawings for the individual playscape elements shown in the overall design.  The school has acquired the help of a local certified playground inspector, landscaper and work crew leader to be the Lead Build Coordinator.  He will act as liaison between the designer and our volunteer crews.

Our playscape builds will be accomplished in much the same way Wonderland playground was built – as a community build coordinated and organized by professionals.  In other words, we (the school and community members) provide the labor, skills and equipment. The Designer and Build Coordinator provide the details,  oversight, direction and organization. Crews of volunteers will build each element or series of playscape elements. Each crew will have a Crew Leader who has taken on that element, studied the plans and is working in coordination with and under the direction of the Build Coordinator & Designer.

The playscape elements include: sand pit, swings, boulder scramble, tree house, balance logs, hill slides, sports field, garden, ball court, tunnels, gathering hut, bridge, monkey bars, climbing wall, climbing structures , music area, water play, outdoor mural and quiet sitting area.  Contact me for more information about any of these elements.

The build days will take place between the middle of June and the beginning of the school year in August at the direction of the Crew Leaders and Build Coordinator.  They will encompass weekends and weekdays.

An organizational meeting with the Designer and our Build Coordinator is scheduled for the first week of June.   Each crew leader in attendance can then begin to set up their crew and summer schedule to accomplish their playscape elements under the direction of the Build Coordinator.

The job I have taken on is to locate the people who will take each playscape element and to help them gather the skills and resources needed. I know that our crew leaders through their own inspired work will create a playscape environment that informs and uplifts our children’s lives for many years to come.

Anything contributed here, time or resources does count toward your yearly volunteer requirement at school. If you think that maybe you might be able to contribute at all, please fill out the survey &/or contact me.  You can fill out the survey online or you can fill out a paper survey at the front desk at school.

If you have any questions, please call or email me.  I look forward to working with you this summer. It will be fun.


Jennifer Budde
Volunteer Coordinator for the Playscape Builds
fax: 907-892-7244