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The ribbon cutting for “Jeff’s Outdoor Play Space” at the Jefferson Early Childhood Center, 3010 26th Ave., Moline took place on Wednesday October 21st. After much work and dedication by all partners involved, the teachers at the school were delighted to officially open the nature inspired outdoor classroom.

Rich Stewart, Resource Conservationist, of the Rock Island County Soil and Water Conservation District and Joe Gates of the Natural Resources Conservation Service assisted beginning in 2012 with the planning and implementation of a portion of this particular project which includes:a trike path, huge sandbox area, stage, “music” area with clang-able pots and pans attached to a fence, herbs, flowers and a butterfly garden.

It is the hope of teachers and parents that this previously empty space will serve as an outdoor education center allowing the children to spend more time outside in nature. The project was funded through a grant written by some of the teachers at the Jefferson Early Childhood Center, and involved SWCD, NRCS, DNR, as well as a donation of trees from a large distributor.

The R.I. Soil & Water Conservation District looks forward to collaborating on projects like these in the future and is always willing to assist with the design and installation of outdoor classrooms like this one. Contact the SWCD office 309-764-1486 Ext. 3 for more information.