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New Nature Walk ~ Outdoor Classroom: Courtesy of Colby 1st Year Students

 Augusta, Maine – Sixteen incoming Colby students and four student leaders visited the Children’s Center in Augusta on Thursday, September 1st, 2011, as a part of Colby’s C2IT community service program.  After getting to know a little bit about the programs and supports offered by the Children’s Center at its locations in Augusta and Skowhegan, the students divided into teams to do some heavy-duty yard work. By the time the students were done, three hours later, they had constructed a new nature walk/ outdoor classroom and seriously spruced up the Center’s playground.

For the past 45 years, the Children’s Center has been a valued resource for families in Central Maine, creating nurturing environments for young children with diverse abilities, some of whom receive specially-designed instruction and therapy services right at the Center, while being in classroom settings with their peers.  The Center also offers childcare at its Augusta location, and Targeted Case Management at both locations.

The Children’s Center’s playground represents a deep commitment to inclusion, wellness, and healthy outdoor play for young children of all abilities. Built with a focus on the Maine Outdoors, features of the playground include a stone waterfall, swings, a separate toddler area, and a lobster boat. Also popular are the moose slide, a lighthouse play structure, a mountaintop climbing structure, a bike path, and a play barn.  The older children enjoy playing in the “Enchanted Forest” area featuring a cedar play structure nestled in a stand of white birch, elm, and sugar maple. The new nature walk/ outdoor classroom adds even more elements of health, wellness and discovery to the children’s learning experiences.

Colby College students have consistently been strong supporters and advocates for the Children’s Center, and have been a part of other construction projects on the playground, as well.

Student Leaders were Zak Jaques, Jean Jaques Nduyisenga, Nicholas Kodiles, and Jennifer Gemmell.

Incoming students were Griffin Metto, Alex Mintz, Alicia Fawcett, Monica Li, Julie Toich, Gus Jingyan, Peter Cronkite, Justin Lutian, Monica Valentin, Kyle Regacion, Drew Kelly, Julie MacLean, Shannon Kenny, Jessica Rosenberg, Ryan Grunsach, and Nick Kondiles.

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