A place to discover nature
in Lincoln Square
The Welles Park Advisory Council, in partnership with the Chicago Park District and Friends of the Parks and the Chicago Parks Foundation, created a space for nature in the city.
In a city known for its parks, its river and its lakefront, this space is special because it is designed for unstructured nature play for children of all ages.
This NaturePlace is on the site of a former playground near the busy intersection of Western and Montrose Avenues. That playground has been replaced with an exciting new type of park space full of hidden nooks, climbing challenges, and buzzing wildlife.
Enjoying the Welles Park NaturePlace:
The fence has been removed from the new Welles Park NaturePlace. The space is still a work in progress with new elements still to be added in the coming months. While we complete the space and anxiously await the growth of the plants, please be careful to respect the space. We ask that everyone stays off the planted areas (mats of straw on the ground seen in the picture below) and remain on the trails or mulched areas.
Some guidelines to help you explore the space:
- Please play with sticks, logs and rocks (but please leave them for others to enjoy)
- While we love all kinds of wildlife, dogs are never allowed in Chicago Park District natural areas
- Please let creativity lead the way but show respect each other and the diversity of ‘play’ we each enjoy in the space in our own way
- Try exploring it with different senses. Listen, Touch, Watch, Smell (but please don’t taste)
- NaturePlace is still a work in progress, hopefully each time you visit, you will see something different
We want to thank our community for its support in creating and maintaining this unique new space!
The previous playground was removed in 2014 as the new playground on the north side of the park was added. Conversations between the Park District, the Advisory Council and local neighbors began to ask what does the park need and what can the space accommodate? A landscape architect was hired to develop conceptual visuals and a site plan for a space that would combine a natural area and play elements in an emerging field referred to as Nature Play.
There was such excitement about this vision for the park from neighbors that a plan was developed to raise additional funds and add new and creative elements to the design. A “crowd-funding” plan was developed by the Greening Committee of the Advisory Council and over $50,000 was raised to bring this vision to reality. Committed neighbors stepped forward with funding and the project received a $20,000 award from the Disney Company and National Park and Recreation Association through their ‘Meet Me at the Park’ initiative. Additional funds from Alderman Ameya Pawar and event-based grants were secured to round out the necessary financial support.
With funding secured, the Park District was confident that the project could go forward and it was installed during late 2017 and the spring of 2018. Much of the work was accomplished with the City of Chicago’s Greencorps Chicago program, a green jobs training program operated by the Chicago Department of Transportation and WRD Environmental.
Check back on this site as we hope to develop a Plant and Wildlife Guide, a Walking Tour, and other resources for visitors to the Nature Place.
Articles about the Welles Park Nature Place:
– What’s a nature play area and what will it look like at Welles Park – dna info 6/16/16
–Welles Park Needs $30K To Go Wild With Proposed NaturePlace – dna info 1/12/17
–Welles Park Wins $20,000 Grant To Fund NaturePlace – dna info 5/19/17
–Meet Me at the Park: New nature play place coming to Welles Park – ABC7 5/18/17
Please allow us to recognize the many people who have helped make the NaturePlace a reality!
|Amy & Dan Kurt|
|Andy & Tracey Lowenthal|
|Andy Sabin Mary Donoghue|
|Ann and Phil Ponce|
|Anne Posner and Matt Wilson|
|Atreyu and Rohan Scher|
|Bill Bergfalk and Roland Hansen|
|Bloom Yoga Studio|
|Bright Funds Foundation|
|Carter and Audrey Stokes|
|Chris, Nancy, and Pierce Mork Bakker|
|Christine and Bernie|
|Craig and Alaina Tucker|
|Craig and Natasha Edwards|
|Dave and Alison Rio|
|Dave and Debbie Barford|
|David Rosholt and Jill Hutchison|
|Dordek Landgraff Family|
|Elizabeth & Tarun Chandran|
|Emily and Ryan Anderson|
|Facility IT Group|
|Harkin / Luscombe Family|
|In Memory of a Generous Soul. Bernadette ‘Gram-me’ Miller|
|In Memory of Dave Sevening|
|Joe Kennedy & Nancy Weber|
|John & Linda Vanderpoel|
|Jon and Mary Heggen|
|Karen & Jim Nevotti|
|Karen Loevy Horowitz|
|Kate and Jim Yoshida|
|Kevin & Kellen Murphy|
|Kim, Jim, Sienna, and Jameson O’Malley|
|Mark & Diane Adams|
|Mark and Joni Croll|
|Mark Vanderpoel & Linda Coady|
|Mary Blankenheim & Jim Gallery|
|Michael & Suzanne Schmidt|
|Mike and Julie Beazley|
|National Christian Foundation|
|National Recreation and Parks Association|
|North Park Elementary School Families|
|Phil and Gina Byers|
|Rachel Kligerman and Kevin Gilbert|
|Rebecca Zemans and Ryan Blitstein|
|Robin and Jane Thompson|
|Sara & Chris Parkes|
|Scott and Betsy Serilla|
|Sean & Victoria Wiedel|
|Strang Wolf Family|
|Swedish Covenant Hospital|
|Tamara & Dragan Dacic|
|Thomas and Gail Vanderpoel|
|Tim and Katie McAvoy|
|Tom and Maria Elena Kenney|
|Waters Elementary Families|
In-kind Support –
|Thor Uremovich – Graphic Design|
|Hallinan Family – Kiosk Construction|
Local Officials –
Alderman Ameya Pawar, 47th Ward
But we need your help!
There is still much help we need to keep the site active and looking great so hopefully you’ll pitch in and help out in one of the following ways:
- Funding – We require ongoing funds to program and maintain the site. Both cash and in-kind donations are welcome. Please contact us if you’d like to support the Nature Place or have an idea in order to support the site.
- Volunteer – There are a number of events and activities taking place each year. Contact us to learn more about how you can help or attend one of the month ‘Greening Committee Meetings‘ listed on our events calendar.
- Join Us – We always need more help on the Advisory Council and with the Greening Committee. To connect with the Greening Committee, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions about this project or anything related to the Welles Park Advisory Council please email us at email@example.com.