‘Natural’ Habitat Flourishes at Children’s Learning Center

Tepee begins to take shape Poles are tied together Grapevine-shrouded tepee offers shadeAdding to the natural area outside the Children’s Learning Center, members of the Horticulture Club recently built a tepee to provide shade for children at play. Instructor and club adviser Carl J. Bower Jr. said plans are to grow vines on it to create more of a garden getaway, in line with the center’s desire to connect children to natural objects and materials comparably more wood, stone, sand, grass and plants than manufactured playground equipment. The tepee was created from sweet birch and grapevine that was cut by forest technology students in Penn College’s School of Natural Resources Management. Students in instructor Jack E. Fisher’s Forest Products class also cut a water trough (a hollowed-out log that is meant to catch rainwater for sandbox play) and a balance beam for the children. This isn’t the first time that horticulture students have been a part of the construction of the garden. The students in Bower’s Landscape Operation class laid sod and planted shrubs and trees in the fall, while students in Michael A. Dincher’s Landscape Construction class are building a paver patio and chime fence in the garden. Arboriculture students of Dincher, an assistant professor of horticulture, cabled and braced one of the large oak trees in the area to make it safer. Photos by Carl J. Bower Jr.

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