Camrose - Stoney Creek Nature Playground & Day Use Area
In 2015, the City of Camrose committed to developing a nature playground and day-use area in the picturesque Stoney Creek valley and invited community partners to create a shared vision for the proposed area. Community partners included the Camrose Wellness Coalition, Battle River Watershed Alliance, Rotary Club of Camrose, Camrose Ski Club and Camrose Wildlife and Stewardship Society.
Utilizing the funds committed by the City, the Camrose Wellness Coalition and Battle River Watershed Alliance successfully applied for a matching grant. These funds were used to expand the City’s plan by adding additional apparatuses at the playground, creating a sensory pathway, and outdoor classroom.
During the planning stages, a social determinant of health lens was used to ensure the space would be accessible, affordable and available to all. The location of the new development is within the heart of the city's urban park system, making it accessible and attractive to most community members.
Moving this initiative forward involved a multi-faceted, collaborative process. The City of Camrose led the way with project plans, and each community partner used their unique skill set to carry out their portion of the project and bring the nature playground, sensory pathway, and outdoor classroom to life.
All community partners involved were pleased to work collaboratively to create a sustainable space in the natural environment that has the potential to bring people together to learn, play and connect. Construction was completed in September 2018 and the area has now become a place for all to enjoy. To date, this area has been widely used by community members and groups (schools, sport associations, environmental groups, etc.) wanting to connect in a natural setting.
The playground offers a place for children to connect with the natural world while participating in creative and physical play. The sensory pathway was designed to not only be fun, but also instrumental in promoting an awareness of one’s senses and surroundings. Children are encouraged to walk barefoot through the pathway, exploring the different textures. The outdoor classroom is available to schools and community groups as a natural learning space.
The development of this natural area has led to further opportunities for partnerships. Having more awareness of each other's mandates and skill sets has opened doors for potential collaboration and future initiatives.