Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Save the Date - September 18th - An Afternoon of Music, Art and Fundraising Fun

We have decided on a fundraising idea to get us through the last remaining projects in our playscape!!!  I'm not sure what to call this yet, an art walk with live music?  A backyard concert with art?  A fabulous neighborhood fundraiser to be sure!

Sunday, September 18th from 2pm-7pm we will hold a fundraiser in our backyard.  We plan to invite local musicians to perform throughout the afternoon and local artists to come display their sculptures, garden art, installations, etc.

So, how do we turn this event into a fundraiser?  We plan to ask for a suggested donation of $10 per adult the door as one avenue of raising the needed funds.  Any artists selling their work will be asked to donate a portion of their sales to the Playscape Project as well.  We will be contacting local breweries and wineries for donations of adult beverages for folks to enjoy on a donation per glass basis while they listen to music and wander through the yard enjoying the art, visiting with neighbors and finding out what a playscape is all about.  As always, it's more than just raising funds, it's also a chance to raise awareness about the need for children to connect with nature in a real, meaningful way every day.  So we hope to invite folks from the community to come  to this fabulous event!

Since we are still in the planning stage, we'll have more news about our artists, musicians and ways to help out in the very near future!  But for now, put a big circle around the 18th on your calendar and plan to stop by!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Next Steps - Sound and Sensory Garden, Fundraising and More!!!!!

Enjoying the outdoor art area
The Art Area
Our project is nearing completion, though we still have a few key features to install.  Already the yard is looking quite fantastic!  The garden is really taking off and we look forward to getting to use our greenhouse this fall!  If anyone has ideas how to heat it using active or passive solar energy we could even manage to use it through the winter for year-round growing.

We also still need shelving and a drip irrigation system in the greenhouse.  We'd like to get these items second-hand if possible the reduce the overall cost.  Let us know if you have any leads on where to get these last few things!
Tomatoes are ripening
An inviting path

The pumpkins are happy and getting huge!!
Strawberry Hill is cascading into the walkway
Beans galore!!!
Ripe with potential
The next phase will be digging up our pea gravel river and making a hill complete with slide.  We have lined up a fantastic bobcat operator, a grandfather of one of our little ones, who has volunteered his services for a day.  We're also speaking with a local landscaper who is possibly interested in helping us once the excavating has been done.  The slide is probably the most expensive element of this entire project, outdoor play equipment is quite expensive but for safety reasons, it's probably best to purchase this one new.  They cost around $900 to get the size and style that we need!

Checking out one of the new murals!
The layout of the remaining projects will probably look something like this:
Day 1:  Dig up the pea gravel area and make the river, hill and place boulders.
Day 2:  Using clay mixed with a binder, make a circular patio for our group area and install the benches and redwood bridge
Day 3: Put in sprinkler system, lay sod and stepping stones, plant herbs, flowers, grasses and groundcovers
Day 4: Put in the musical instruments and sound installations
Day 5: Create the circular cob structure for our resting area

All of these elements will also come with a price tag.  We've have nearly depleted the playscape funds from the fundraiser we held in April, putting in the garden and building the greenhouse took the majority of the funds with the mosaics using up the rest.

The water play area

Now we have to think of one final way to raise funds for our remaining projects.  Since we have some volunteer help promised and materials that we've already purchased such as the redwood bridge and boulders, we believe that between $2000-$2500 would be all we need to finish this!  Anyone interested in donating funds or materials or volunteer their help please contact us, we won't say no to anyone!  Also, we'd love some creative input for ideas on ways to raise these funds.

Some ideas we've had include:

1) Holding an art show in our backyard and inviting the community to see what we've done and what we plan to do.  Many of our teachers and staff members are artists, and some of our parents too!  Maybe we could collaborate and hold a fun joint artist's show!
2) A carnival or fair in our backyard, this would require a lot of volunteer help, but could be a lot of fun to have games, bouncy castle, face-painting, etc.
3) Yard sale - we typically do hold a yard sale in late August or early September, but this year we don't have as many donations as usual and wonder if the interest in this is waning or if enough people are interested in donating items and helping set this up, it could be exactly what we need to finish.
4) Seeking donations from funds or businesses who support this type of project.  This is made more difficult by the fact that we are not a non-profit, but not impossible.
5) Ask local bands if they would be willing to come play a couple of songs and set up another music-type fundraiser, maybe with grown-up music this time...

Other ideas are welcomed too, and anyone interested in helping with one or more of these please contact Sarah so we can start planning and dreaming!

Willows are leafing out

Soon to be our dirt-digging area, already the kids have started making that happen though!

Everything is looking so beautiful!