One day I saw some activity in a rough looking area of our park and I investigated. I discovered people who had been tasked with developing a wild-space for children to play and adults to run various outdoor groups in. This was exactly what I needed to get involved in and my first task as a volunteer was…planting tires!
The above image is Sharon from the Smart Play Network in Edinburgh (acting as the advisor) and myself (acting as a hard grafting volunteer), putting in the first few (out of 52) tires. At some point George (my neighbor, no not my neebur but someone living next door to me) took over from Sharon and I advised him. True community and team effort that. The difficulty in this task was concrete (from the path edging) at different depth and the other side being a granite surface that sloped half way along, unseen in the images. There were challenges in what would be a very easy job if on flat, stone free dirt. The only form of ground I’ll ever offer to do this again on!
So George aka Batman helped me finish the second half of (52) tires and here we are standing by the final one. The images don’t show it but this row runs between a path and a pump-track for bikes/scooters. It’s one of those tracks that have a lot of hills and tight steep bends. The theory was that a row of (52) tires would help to prevent young children making their way onto the busy and potentially dangerous track. It also discourages users of the track from entering and leaving the track at any point along the main path.
Guess what…it works!
The children are slowed down when they get to the tires which gives parents time to get them. It is also an obvious boundary which children seem to accept. Considering the tires were free and there was no labor costs. I’d say this project was a success.
Picnic Log Seating
None of this stuff is rocket science but I want to show my physical effort in my life-folio. A ring of log seats was the next task. You would be surprised how much planning (chit chat) is needed before starting such a project. I had my doubts about it too because these logs weren’t very long but it turned out they were long enough. Also, we decided that cementing them in-place wasn’t a good idea because replacing any damaged (by fire) logs would be a bigger task with all that cement under the ground.
We do plan something a bit more ambitious for the kids to climb through but you might be surprised how much work this short tunnel involves. Three of us used two wheelbarrows to collect dirt about 120 meters away…from the nearby building site. We each guessed the number of wheelbarrow loads needed to finish the job and I said “thirty” but it turned out to be twenty-two. I’ve not yet gone through the tunnel but I’m sure the kids love it.