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2nd Wednesday Lecture: Playing in Public

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Playing in Public – How Chicago Neighborhood Nature Play Sites Connect Through Care

There are certain outdoor places from some of our pasts where we remember our best childhood selves-when we played well with others, enjoyed our natural surroundings (whether the rural woods or an urban alley), felt the safety of adults, yet were in charge of our own kid surroundings. This made us the earth stewards we are today, helped us build skills to overcome physical and emotional challenges, and provided us with a sense of kid community.

As we enter into an era where 85% of the childhood population is urban, how can we give our own children access to this kid-centered future memory? Join Robin Cline, Assistant Director of NeighborSpace, Chicago’s only non-profit community managed land trust, for this unique inside look at publicly managed urban nature play spaces.

About the Presenter: Robin Cline is the Assistant Director of NeighborSpace, where she plays a leadership role in creative stewardship and program development. In her role, she led the 2015-2016 pilot partnership with the Student Conservation Association, in which Little Village young adult SCA employees transferred back country creative timber skills into relevant “front country” nature play pieces at Jardincito, the community-managed play garden at 2300 S Whipple in Chicago’s Little Village Neighborhood. Formerly Manager of Public Programs and Exhibits at the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, she was the organization’s lead project developer for the 2015 ISLA award-winning outdoor nature space, “The Play and Grow Garden V 1.0.” Cline holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she focused on experimental community performance. She is also currently Director of Experience Design for the public art group Opera-Matic, a Chicago artist collective that activates public park spaces (such as Humboldt Park and the 606 trail) with walking, song, clowning, and community connection.

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