Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Children’s Forest to grow nature connection

Hornsby Shire Council has proudly unveiled a new Children’s Forest in Galston – just the second of its kind in Australia and an innovative new feature of the Shire’s treasured Fagan Park.

Featuring educational discovery pods, timber animal interactions, an outdoor learning space, Yarning Circle and a pond with stepping stones, along with grassed picnic areas and accessible pathways, the Children’s Forest provides an educational model showcasing the value of trees and was designed in close consultation with schools in the surrounding area, the Council said in a statement.

Students from five schools, including children with physical or sensory needs, took part in interactive sessions at the Forest’s official opening – submitting their ideas before an official exhibition period of the proposed design.

The Children’s Forest will also claim the title of the first park in NSW designed specifically to nurture children’s relationship with the natural world – a concept that Hornsby Shire Mayor, Philip Ruddock AO says is crucial in ensuring future generations’ sense of “connection and responsible stewardship of nature.”

“Growing up in Hornsby Shire myself, I still often cast my mind back to my childhood connection to trees, nature and Hornsby’s unique Blue Gum and Turpentine Ironbark forests,” says Mayor Ruddock.

“So I’m very proud to bring to life this space that is reflective of our Shire’s strong connection with nature and sees an innovative approach to strengthening this for future generations. Our thanks to the NSW Government for their support.”

NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Paul Scully said the NSW Government’s $450,000 funding contribution to the Forest would help connect young minds with their established surroundings.

“This unique addition will provide a new and exciting learning space for children to experience for decades to come, and I thank Council and the local schools for bringing this innovative space to life,” Mr Scully said.

Attending the opening, Parliamentary Secretary for Planning and Public Spaces, Stephen Bali said the new children’s forest will be an educational model showcasing the value of trees for local kids.

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