PlayCore, the leading company in play and recreation research, programming, and products, recently awarded its NatureGrounds National Demonstration Site Award of Excellence to a new NatureGrounds park in Ketchum, OK. Thanks to a $57,273 grant from the Cherokee Nation to the Native American Association of Ketchum, Grand Playscape Park is set to be a destination for all to reconnect with nature. To celebrate, a grand opening ceremony will be held on May 7th at 1 p.m., at Grand River Ave and Amarillo Street, Vinita, OK 74301.
Naturegrounds® is a program designed to help communities bring nature to the play environment through the integration of natural and built features. The program was created in collaboration with PlayCore and the Natural Learning Initiative, College of Design, NC State University (NLI), to help professional and community activists promote naturalized playgrounds. “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,” said Robin Moore, NLI.
“The park is the first in the community,” said Jerry Taylor, Board President of the Native American Association of Ketchum, “and the citizens have brought community cohesion in working to plan, develop, and maintain a park that families can enjoy. The park serves as a place for the center of the community to play, picnic, hold events, and interact with nature. We are very excited about the park, and the wonderful memories that will be created for the children and families.”
“The Native American Association is a non-profit organization that works to make our community stronger,” said Lisa Evans of Ketchum, OK. “Our goal (was) 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.”
The Cherokee Nation’s Community and Cultural Outreach department awards about 45 grants per year to local organizations seeking to improve their community.
“Helping the town of Ketchum build a family-friendly park is part of the Cherokee Nation’s mission to invest in our citizens and communities,” said Cherokee Nation Principal, Chief Bill John Baker. “This will soon be a beautiful space for children and families to gather and enjoy. I’m proud we are able to improve the quality of life for all citizens in the Ketchum community.”
As a National Demonstration Site, the park will receive certification, become a part of a national registry, and be promoted actively to other communities wishing to offer natural play environments to help share best practices.
To locate the new site, check out our National Demonstration Site map.