Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve to celebrate opening of new spider web play structure and picnic area

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Auburn University's School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences and the Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve and Nature Center, also known as the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center, will dedicate its newly installed spider web climbing structure and picnic area at a ribbon-cutting ceremony beginning at 3:30 p.m. on April 15 at the preserve's nature playground.

The nature-based playground, one of the first of its kind in Alabama, offers children rich naturalistic play spaces and creative structures such as a beaver lodge, eagle's nest, tree house and teepee. The addition of the "spider web" will complement other play area structures and allow children of all ages to develop their climbing skills. As children master the bouncy spider character and its secured rope webbing, they will in turn develop their muscle strength and coordination while building their self-confidence and a positive association with arachnids.

The play structure was one of 18 projects fully funded during Auburn University's first-ever Tiger Giving Day, a 24-hour university-wide crowdfunding initiative conducted on Dec. 1, 2015, in conjunction with the National Day of Giving. Although the school set out to raise the $6,000 required to fund the play structure, donor support resulted in gifts totaling $9,370, or 155 percent of its goal. The Kreher Preserve and Nature Center applied the additional support to enhancing the playground area with an Arachnid Learning Kiosk and a much-needed picnic area for playground visitors.

The dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting will help recognize the generous community support provided through Tiger Giving Day and highlight the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center's efforts to expose youth to the wonders of nature, educate them about conservation, and encourage them to be active and fit. The ceremony will feature Dean Janaki Alavalapati of the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences; Kreher Preserve and Nature Center outreach administrator Jennifer Lolley; City of Auburn Mayor Bill Hamm; City Parks' Director Becky Richardson; and Auburn's building science students who volunteered to install the play structure.

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Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.