3M presented the Red Rock Lake Association with a grant of $30,000 on Monday morning.
The money was awarded through 3M’s Eco Grant Program. The money will be used for supplies and other costs for a “Natural Playscape” project at North Overlook Beach at Lake Red Rock.
The playscape began as a Junior Seminar project for Central College seniors Ryan McPherren and Ryan Dusil. The two students, working with Professor Anya Butt, chose this project from a series of possible works provided by the US Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Red Rock.
Instead of the usual, manufactured playground equipment, the natural playscape will have playground equipment made of natural materials. The playscape will include a water fountain, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) supplies, geocaching opportunities and prairie restoration. It will be located above the beach, on the back side of the adjoining campground. Plans include an outdoor amphitheater, where the US Army Corps of Engineers can present programs.This is part of a nationwide trend to convert from artificial, manufactured play equipment on concrete, to something more natural.
“We think it’s going to bring in a lot of visitors,” Matt Kissinger with the Red Rock Lake Association said of the playscape. He said it will provide another option for people to do while at the lake. The playscape is a first for Marion County and may be a first in the state. He added that studies have shown that children are more likely to play longer on natural playground than on manufactured one.
Construction of the playscape made a leap over the weekend, as 84 volunteers, including several Vermeer employees, took time on Saturday to work on the project.
Vermeer spokesperson Teri Vos said the employees wanted to do something to give back to the community, in honor of the company’s 65th anniversary.