Johnstown-Circle-Garden-and-Side-Garden-029Early Childhood Facility, east side of Columbus Ohio

Our services:
2005-Present. Site layout, design, budget, and implementation oversight for multiple outdoor areas; volunteer coordination; funding research.

Project partners:
Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Franklin Park Conservatory’s Growing to Green Program, The Columbus Foodshed Project, Scott’s Urban Garden Academy, The Rodale Institute, The Columbus Foundation.

This expansive Outdoor Learning Environment began in 2002 with a small circular vegetable garden, a collaboration between The Columbus Foodshed Project, CDCFC Head Start, and Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The garden was well-received by the children and staff, leading to discussions about the possibility of developing a larger outdoor learning environment.

ECLC-butterfly-garden-photos-007-2The outdoor play area now includes an expansive play barn designed to look like a historic barn from Ohio’s rural roots. A nearby cedar structure complements the lines of the barn, and casts welcome shade over a well-used casual-play sand pit. Native plant communities, including tall ornamental grasses and beautiful flowering plants, reveal themselves throughout the entire outdoor area.

A studio courtyard garden, sporting dramatic native meadow plantings, offers large slabs of native limestone for children and staff to sit and work on art projects, or to just enjoy the sunshine. Another courtyard garden features rounded local river pebbles of various sizes for tactile play, and a safe, interactive water feature created from a salvaged hollow log.