Anne Springs Close Greenway (ASCG)
Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, SC, Announces $125k Pledge to Support Children’s Nature Playscape
Drive into the Anne Springs Close Greenway’s busiest entrance on any warm spring day and you are immediately met with a variety of ages and activities being enjoyed near the Greenway Gateway and surrounding areas. The Lake Haigler entrance has quickly become the Greenway’s most visited entrance since the construction of the new welcome center in 2019 and with that, an influx in new members and visitors.
Over the last two years, staff has worked with private donors, Marty and Vesime Schroering, to craft a vision for a new natural playscape, dubbed the Schroering Forest Playground. The latest in several new amenities announced by the organization in recent years, the Forest Playground is planned for an existing mature-growth tree stand adjacent to the Domtar Forest Porch. Staff has collaborated alongside the Natural Learning Initiative (NLI), a research and professional development unit at the NC State University College of Design to create a natural environment for children and their families to enjoy when visiting.
Anne Springs Close Greenway has always been a special place for our family. After being inspired by playgrounds we saw while visiting abroad, we wanted to bring the same fun and inspiration to Fort Mill to further nurture children’s imagination and creativity. We are excited to partner with the Greenway to bring this dream alive and share with the community we love.
NLI was founded in 2000 with the purpose of promoting the importance of the natural environment in the daily experience of all children. A primary goal is to partner with like-minded organizations such as Anne Springs Close Greenway to create on-the-ground, research-driven demonstrations of nature-based solutions that get kids off the couch and outdoors. Most children today are too sedentary, glued to electronic devices indoors, becoming overweight or worse – a poor prognosis for future health. Outdoors in nature is the best antidote for individuals and the planet. Insufficient contact with the natural world limits our understanding of human dependence on nature, which we all need to care for.
NLI offers evidence-based design assistance to help create a stimulating place for play, outdoor learning, and environmental education. Regionally as open land and green space continue to diminish at a rapid rate, the Anne Springs Close Greenway serves to be a bridge for more children to experience and appreciate the outdoors.
The construction of the Schroering Forest Playground is an effort to enhance outdoor learning and natural play environments at the Anne Springs Close Greenway. This new amenity will bring more children to nature through the experiences of forest play, activating key sensory skills while developing creativity and confidence in the outdoors.
Research suggests there are a variety of ways nature enhances children’s physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development, and the construction of a new natural playscape aims to bridge the gap for the three out of four children who do not get the recommended hour of active play per day. The Schroering Forest Playground will include a central feature and climbing structure for older children, a complementary structure for younger guests, and a primary pathway that is ADA-accessible to ensure visitors of all ages and abilities can enjoy the playscape.
Nature Playscape concept site layout shows accessible, forest pathways and interconnected activity settings, including #3, the Climbing Structure. Acoustic Play #7, is also a Richter product (among others to be located). Additional setting illustrations are taken from other NLI projects.