Nature’s Connection

Nature’s Connection

Nature’s Connection is a coordinated vision of additional sensory play for children and adults on the outside grounds of Woodlawn Nature Center. Nature’s Connections includes three aspects.

  1. Rain Garden—A local Girl Scout troop and INPAWS (Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society) started the process to create a native plant rain garden in front of the building. This emerging gardens showcases how rain gardens can be used locally and highlights native plants. We are looking for a plant and sign sponsor for this area. A beautiful bridge was donated by the Ward family.
  2. Sensory Wall—A beautiful sensory wall is being created by a local woodworker and will be painted by artists from the area. This includes nature scenes, the water cycle, and more. Stop by the center to see a local digital artists’ rendition of the plans.
  3. Natural Playscape—Several areas outside the Nature Center are being modified as “stations” for nature play, such as a digging and building areas, an outdoor music and movement area, natural paths, a stage, natural art area, climbing area, entryway, garden area, seating and storage areas, and more. When finished, this will be a certified Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom. The Natural Playscape at Woodlawn Nature Center will be a natural area full of “loose parts” to engage children as they interact with nature. This natural space will be available to all children and adults of differing 2 copy 4

In general, research shows children are not getting outside as much due to busy schedules, sedentary lifestyles, technology use, and biophobia (a fear of the natural world and environmental issues). Nature’s Connections is one way to provide open-ended playtime to connect with nature. Benefits of interacting with nature include more focus, increased creativity, stress reduction, active movement, and more! The mission of Woodlawn Nature Center is “to intimately connect as many people as possible to nature, natural history, and our future on this planet.” Nature’s Connections will allow children and adults to connect with nature in many ways, through art, music and movement, messy materials play, digging, loose parts, and more. To care about the future of our planet, children need to have a connection with nature.

We hope this shared vision will help visitors connect more with nature while at Woodlawn Nature Center.If you’d like to help or donate to the cause, please contact us! Sponsorships and specific projects are available for businesses, families, and group or individual service projects. Watch for future updates. We hope you will become involved in this exciting nature project by sponsoring an area of Woodlawn Nature Center’s Nature’s Connections!

Wish List Items for this project include:

Native plants suitable for sandy loam in a shady area

Various sized tree stumps—lots needed!

Tree cookies

Unique natural “loose parts”—buckeyes, sweet gum balls, pinecones, seeds and seed pods, cattails, willow branches, etc.

Natural blocks from tree limbs of various sizes/materials

A smooth finished canoe (leaks okay) for play area

Life jackets


Garden tools for children


River Rock

Small galvanized buckets

Large galvanized tubs

Building materials for entryway, stage, storage areas

Portable sound system with microphone

Milk crates

Volunteer Needs:


Physical labor




Carving/wood burnishing for signs




Fund raising