My name is Kristel Smith and I’m a graduate student majoring in
Environmental Studies here at CSU. I'm seeking help on a project I’m
leading and I’m hoping to find someone who as passionate as I am about
natural common spaces. First - a little background.
As a kid, there were acres of woods behind my father’s house. I spent
my summers with neighbor kids of all ages swinging on vines growing
from trees, climbing logs, building forts and doing whatever else
struck our fancy. Although we have an amazing Metroparks system, this
type of play isn’t a reality for children in highly developed
I feel like there is no reason why some of this can’t be available to
them, so I’m working to build a natural playground.
A natural playground uses elements such as living plants, wood, sand,
water and stone to create play areas that encourage children to
develop their imaginative, social and constructive play skills while
engaging their senses in the natural world. It is environmentally
friendly, provides habitat and it has been shown that kids do better
emotionally, physically and socially when they have access to these
types of play spaces.
There is a small playground on the East End of Lakewood that is
virtually unused by neighborhood children, because the equipment is
old and there isn't much there to begin with. It just so happens to
be the park that is most accessible to our family and the many
children living nearby. I recently decided it was time to change this
and that there was an opportunity to do more than your standard steel
and plastic playground. I contacted my council person about it. They
are very supportive as they have wanted to do something with this
space for a while. They are enthusiastic about the natural playground
A few community members, along with our ward councilperson, have
started a new community group called Lakewood’s East End Neighbors and
this is our first project.
I’m looking for someone with an interest in sustainability or play
spaces to work with our city planning person with the planning and
design elements of the project.
I have inquired about making this an official internship, but can’t
make promises. It could make for an interesting senior project.
No matter what, it is a great opportunity to meet and work with city
planning officials. It would add an interesting and relevant element
to your resume. We’re hoping to break ground spring of 2014 with a
“done in a day” Community Build, so we’re currently organizing,
recruiting people, and would like to begin planning.
If you are interested in learning more, please email me at
KristelSmith@gmail.com. We can talk more about the project and to
see if this is something you’d like to participate in.
Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.