Story by A.J. Arias
The 3 Pines Nature Place, next to the Warwick Valley Community Center, located at 11 Hamilton Ave. in Warwick, opened up over a year ago in July of 2017, but it is still in its beginning stages. With the help of students from the Orange County Community College (OCCC) Architectural Design 2 Class, 3 Pines has numerous possible additions and exciting features with the proper funding.
On Wed., Aug. 8, the brains behind the Nature Place held a walk through and presentation of the play area and its plans for the future. The journey for 3 Pines began in 2016 when a grassroots effort came together to discuss a replacement for the former playground that had been built in 1990 and was rusting away.
With the help of Chris Mansfield and retired landscape architect Richard Pillar, a design was drawn up for a Nature Place with multiple play areas for different activities. These activities include a sand play area, a larger open space with a fallen tree to play around, a theatre type area with tree stumps to act as seats, a beautiful palisades with wood of different sizes surrounding a tree, and a place to rest with three pine trees, which gave the playground its name, among other areas of play and learning.
“For every function we think each area could have a kid who will think of countless more,” said Richard Pillar, during the walk through.
3 Pines, which is almost entirely ADA compliant for people with disabilities, was built in 2017 with assistance of volunteers from groups such as the Bruderhof Community and Grace Community Church.
After the walk through, Sharlene Miller-Pizza, a member of the 3 Pines Board, gave a presentation about how 3 Pines came to be and presented other major players on the project including Board member Bill Steinauer, Dan Mack, and Pam Golben, a nature educator who holds classes at 3 Pines. Additionally, Miller-Pizza announced their exciting new partnership with OCCC.
Pamela Rice-Woytowick, an associate professor at OCCC and member of the college’s architecture department gave a presentation at the event on the work that students in her Architecture Design 2 class had done.
Rice-Woytowick had taken her class to 3 Pines after spring break last semester and gave them two weeks to design new additions to the playground. All of the designs were based off of animal habitats that can be built out of natural resources or recycled parts.
Each of the designs offered exciting and new possibilities to the nature play area. The designs included spider netting to play on, a lantern system based off of bird’s nests, a bee hive type structure, a tire swing area, as well as many other impressive designs.
The 3 Pines team would love to see many of the structures come to life and to see the nature place grow but it will require the proper funding and volunteers to make it happen.
For those who would like to assist the 3 Pines Nature Place visit their Facebook page by searching @WVCCNaturePlayArea or by calling the Community Center at 986-6422.