The Forest Foundation is also working to complete the “Hobbit tunnel” feature at the Hoover Forest Preserve Nature Play Space, a natural playground under development at Hoover Forest Preserve designed to connect children and families to nature. The Forest Foundation is supporting the ongoing development of the playground through donations and contributions from Natural Beginnings Early Learning Program parents, foundations, private individuals, and area businesses.
Previous projects completed at the Hoover Nature Play Space include Stephanie’s Garden, dedicated in memory of Stephanie Harvey-Tansey, a working mud kitchen, a play house and butterfly garden overlook deck, and a children’s stage.
The Hoover Nature Play Space is located behind The Rookery education center, home to the district’s award-winning Natural Beginnings Early Learning Program. The Natural Beginnings program and Nature Play Space were showcased earlier this month as part of a recent international “World of Wonder” conference attended by more than 400 educators, including the Natural Beginnings program staff that also developed a field trip, tour and early-learning curriculum showcase for participating educators.
Both projects are getting underway with support from two grants awarded to the Forest Foundation by the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. For the restoration project, the Forest Foundation is working to raise $7,000 in matching donations in order to receive $21,000 through the grant program. Funds raised in excess of the $7,000 match will be used to complete the “Hobbit tunnel” feature and for continued restoration efforts at Hoover Forest Preserve.