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Charlotte, NC-- Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation and Central Piedmont Community College Center for Sustainability invite the public to the “Designing Natural Play Areas” professional workshop at Reedy Creek Nature Center on Monday, March 7, 2011. The workshop is 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and costs $20 per person. Fee includes lunch and five CEUs (Continuing Education Unit) through the NC Recreation and Parks Association.

Natural play areas are “natural playgrounds” designed to encourage longer and richer outdoor play and exploration. They promote imaginary play, enhance creativity, and provide a valuable link between child and nature.

The workshop will provide information on the history and benefits of natural play areas, and how to begin designing one at your park, school, or child care facility. Participants will have the opportunity to explore the new “Nature Explorer Zone” at Reedy Creek Nature Preserve, a new nature play area that incorporates these concepts.

Workshop facilitators include Robin Moore, director of the Natural Learning Imitative and professor of landscape architecture at NC State University and Fran Mainella, visiting scholar at Clemson University, co-chair of U.S. Play Coalition, and the 16th director of the National Park Service and first woman to lead that agency.

Major funding for the workshop comes from Landscape Structures Inc.

Register through E-Parks or call 704-598-8857.

‘Play Again’

In addition to the workshop, the public is invited to watch “Play Again,” a free documentary about reconnecting kids with nature. The showing is at 6 p.m. and will take place at Pease Lane Auditorium on the campus of CPCC. Both Fran Mainella and Robin Moore will also speak at the documentary showing.