On Dec. 10, the WLF presented a check for $200,000 to the Westminster City Council in support of the innovative nature playground that will be built at Westminster Station Park.

Approximately two years ago, the Foundation decided to take action and help raise funds for the new nature playground after the Board of Directors were made aware of a startling new trend among youth in the United States: that the average American child spends more than 7 hours a day in front of a screen. Screen time can negatively impact kids’ cognitive development, but nature playgrounds can help combat that and have been proven to positively impact gross motor function, fine motor skills, imagination, and social skills, all at the same time.

The nature playground is slated to be completed in early fall 2019 and is part of a multi-million dollar investment in the area surrounding Westminster Station Park, the location of the B-Line train to Union Station.

The $200,000 donated by the Westminster Legacy Foundation signifies a landmark for the Foundation: the Westminster Legacy Foundation has now donated more than $1 million back to the community since its founding in 2001.

Keep reading to learn more about the project.

Nature Playground at Westminster Station Park Project Overview
The Westminster Legacy Foundation has partnered with the City of Westminster to create an innovative new playground for children in Westminster. Located at the dazzling Westminster Station Park, which connects Westminster to Union Station in Denver, the nature playground will help our community’s children develop essential skills for a successful life.

What is a Nature Playground?
A nature playground is an innovative idea that is only happening in forward-thinking communities. The playgrounds are made of natural elements including trees, boulders, water, sand, chirping birds, blue sky and – most importantly – plenty of imagination. The nature playground at Westminster Station Park will include a “mountain” with boulders, ropes and timbers for children to climb. There will also be a series of treehouses connected by bridges (all accessible).

Why a Nature Playground?
The average American child spends more than 7 hours in front of a screen every day, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. A number of troubling studies connect delayed cognitive development in kids with extended exposure to electronic media. Nature playgrounds help connect kids with nature, and develop gross motor function, fine motor skills, imagination, and social skills, all at the same time. Additional research indicates that, when children go to traditional playgrounds, they can get bored quickly: you climb the stairs, you use the monkey bars – it’s fairly prescriptive. A nature playground has boulders that can be traversed a variety of ways, timbers that inspire a different game with every visit, and kids come back to these playgrounds more often and stay longer during visits. Nature playgrounds have also been proven to encourage children to consider their safety; in traditional playgrounds, most risks of injuries have been removed.

Westminster Legacy Foundation’s Commitment to the Nature Playground
The Westminster Legacy Foundation has pledged to raise $200,000 in funds for this exciting project. We believe that the project will make life healthier and more fun for our local kids, and will offer many of them their first chance to truly connect with nature. The foundation has raised $143,000, making us over seventy percent of the way to our goal. We hope that you will consider donating to the nature playground to help us connect kids with nature, and help Westminster’s children achieve success. If you are interested in making a contribution to the nature playground, please click here or contact Lauren Werner at [email protected] or 303-658-2319.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of these donors:

Cardel Homes Foundation

Adams County Foundation

Colorado Health Foundation

City of Westminster Parks, Recreation, Libraries and Open Space Advisory Board

Opus Foundation

Elevations Foundation

Unison Housing Partners

Keep Westminster Strong

First Bank

Xcel Energy

Vectra Bank Colorado

Happy Transplants Garden Club