The Foundation is delighted to announce that a Commemorative Grant of $500,000 has been awarded to Centennial Park Foundation to establish The Ian Potter Children’s Wildplay Garden.
Due to the importance of this project and its potential to make a difference to the community, the Foundation will contribute a further $1 million (over three years) to the garden through its regular grant-making programs, to award a total of $1.5 million.
“Having granted over $200 million to thousands of projects over the past 50 years, it seemed fitting that the Foundation’s 50th Anniversary should be commemorated with significant, community- and capacity-building grants,” said Janet Hirst, Chief Executive Officer of The Ian Potter Foundation. “The Ian Potter Children’s Garden in Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens has been such a success and in 10 years has become one of the city’s most loved attractions. The opportunity to support a similar facility for the children of Sydney was irresistible.”
Australian children’s relationship with the great outdoors is waning rapidly. Today 10 per cent of kids today play outside just once a week, and only 35 per cent of children play outside everyday compared to 72 per cent of kids a generation ago (Planet Ark 2010). Projects that facilitate and encourage interaction with the natural environment are vitally important for both the health and wellbeing of children and in fostering a love of nature that will help engage them in understanding and protecting the natural environment.
Centennial Park’s Ian Potter Children’s Wild Play Garden will offer an interactive environment so children may experience the learning power of nature. The garden will be an inclusive outdoor learning environment, enabling free nature-based play. This will be the first dedicated public children’s garden in NSW, and will teach children to respect and understand the natural world in a hands-on and engaging environment.
“This new garden will offer a wide range of nature-based learning opportunities for children and families, and greatly enhance and build the capacity of Centennial Park’s existing education programs,” said Janet Hirst. “Centennial Park is already such a well-loved recreational haven in the middle of a busy metropolis. This superb children’s garden will be a jewel in its crown and we commend Centennial Parklands Foundation on an excellent project that will benefit the whole community for many years to come.”