Forest Hill Drive and Guerilla Hollow are closed on Sunday, May 25 due to high winds.

When Trees Play, Pin Oak Tree Turned into Play Structure

By Claude Stephens

When it became evident that a sixty-five year old pin oak growing near the Garden Pavilion parking area was in rapid decline, Bernheim made the hard decision to cut it down.  We try to make such decisions in a mindful way, so naturally, we considered our options.  A plan was hatched to work with Greenhaven Tree Care to deconstruct the tree in a way that would allow us to use the still sound parts of it as climbing structures in the Children’s Play Garden.  Our regionally focused Bernheim Children at Play Network seeks to create nature based play environments for children throughout the region.  Shifting from plastic and metal climbing structures to more natural materials is one of our goals.

We carefully examined the still standing tree and selected three sections of the tree that might be moved to our Play Garden for use.  In addition to the main trunk, we had a central section cut out to be used as a climb-upon and a higher portion to be cut and turned upside down as natural hiding spot.  Here are some pictures of our dying pin oak finding new life in Bernheim’s play area.  In the process of doing projects like this at Bernheim we are figuring out what it takes for others to make similar decisions.

We greatly appreciate the Greenhaven team for working with us as we figure such things out.  We also thank PNC Bank for generous support for the Children at Play Network. We get a bit better at thinking this way each time we try something new.  What a joy it is working at a place like Bernheim that embraces this kind of thought.

We will post the conclusion of the adventure from dying tree to play structure in a few weeks when the project is complete.  In the meantime…come out and play around it.

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