After a staff and board field trip to Bernheim in March of 2022, the Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill team contacted Bernheim’s Children at Play Network team to inquire about assistance with the development of a natural play landscape at Shaker Village. There are a number of similarities between Bernheim and Shaker Village including the serenity of the landscape, management of thousands of acres of natural lands, and the commitment to providing memorable experiences for the whole family. It’s also imperative that any additions to the Shaker Village landscape be in keeping with the historic character of the site, so a natural play area seemed an appropriate direction to consider. CAPN director Claude Stephens visited Shaker Village to meet with key members of their management team at the proposed playground site to chat over possibilities. Billy Rankin, VP of Public Programming and Marketing, then contracted with the CAPN team to work directly with the key stakeholders on the Shaker Village team to create a conceptual plan. In addition to Claude the CAPN team included training specialist Kim Tabler, and design specialist Jenny Gardner.
It was great to work with the committed team from Shaker Village. They are embarking on this new project for all the best reasons but especially to foster a love for nature and history in the youngest Shaker Village visitors. They now have a conceptual plan to help guide the next steps in making their play vision come to life near the gardens and adjacent to the world famous Shaker Village restaurant.
“Our interest in natural play grows out of our commitment to providing memorable experiences for all ages while maintaining the historic nature of our landscape. The Children at Play Network’s leadership in outdoor play helped us create a conceptual plan that will guide our next steps. The process of designing this plan was meaningful for our entire team, as it not only focused on the physical nature of this particular space, but also generated ideas for how play and other experiential activities can engage our multi-generational audience.” – Billy Rankin, Vice President of Public Programming and Marketing, Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill