New River Land Trust Nature Play Space

The New River Land Trust has created a Nature Play Space in Heritage Park. This exciting project promotes healthy childhood development and fosters environmental stewardship. So far we’ve raised $4,000 to for Phases I and II, and will be adding new features soon!

image of boy playing at the Nature Play SpaceNature play includes digging in the dirt, cloud watching, tree climbing, catching bugs, wading—it is unstructured free time outside in the backyard, out in the woods, on a farm, or even in a vacant lot. A combination of increased societal fear, “plugged-in” play, school reform that doesn’t allow for direct outdoor experience, and over-scheduled family agendas means that today’s child is playing outside less. According to, “our children now spend an average of just 30 minutes per week in unstructured outdoor play.” Compelling evidence shows that unstructured outdoor play, more than any other type of environmental education, produces adults who are conservationists. Nature play stimulates all of the senses and promotes every aspect of healthy child development —physical, cognitive, creative, social/emotional and spiritual.

Our Nature Play Space is nestled in an enchanting corner of the Town of Blacksburg’s Heritage Park. It will have a welcoming arbor entrance leading to an inviting meeting space made of boulders and logs. Interpretive signs at the play space and throughout Heritage Park will encourage families to play. Coming this season: A new pollinator garden and bird and butterfly houses.

We host our seasonal, free Outdoor Family Classes in the Nature Play Space. We also organize field trips for underserved children who may not otherwise have the chance to visit. We also encourage families from the New River Valley to visit and play any time they like.