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There’s a new place for kids to play

RELATED: Check out Linda Bailey’s Nature Notes on

This April, children in Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania will be able to get back to nature at Motts Run Reservoir with an innovative play space.

Linda Bailey, nature education coordinator for the Fredericksburg parks department, came up with the idea for the play area.

“Kids spend up to seven and a half hours a day with technology and media,” Bailey said. “This play space will get them outside and reconnect with nature for a bit.”

Bailey said the play area is slightly unstructured and features a campsite theme.

Children will be able to make stick forts and survival shelters, play at a make-believe campfire, row a stationary canoe and even get an idea about how animal hides are tanned.

The money to make the play space possible was donated by the Anne Page Garden Club of Fredericksburg, a group that has aided in the beautification of the area since 1947.

Susan Tyler, a member of the Anne Page club and the city Parks and Recreation Commission, said the club raises funds through an annual plant auction and typically donates the proceeds to a nature camp.

This year, however, Bailey approached the club with a different idea.

“She was very persuasive, and we realized we wanted our money to go into the community,” Tyler said. “It’s a great cause that involves nature, and we can really get behind it.”

The Anne Page club donated $1,100 for the park, and much of the construction will be led by Connor Benhase and Philip Wiltenmuth, two local Boy Scouts who are working on their Eagle Scout projects.

The play space is set to open on Saturday, April 26. The president of the Anne Page club, Patti Bricken, will cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony.

“We’re just so excited for this,” Bailey said. “We really just want to encourage unstructured, creative play.”

Hope Racine 540/374-5403