project leader
S. Michelle F
3538 Given Ave
(The Heights)
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the project

The Heights neighborhood has many great assets, but one thing neighborhood residents continue to say is lacking is a place for our children to play, whether they are in school at Treadwell or spending time outside during the weekend and summer months.  Currently the K-5 students at Treadwell have a pad of asphalt and an empty field to play on during recess.  The closest playground that our neighborhood has access to is more than a mile away at Gaisman Park.  We want  a place for our children to play!  A place where teachers can take their students that is engaging and fun.  A place that neighborhood kids can walk to and enjoy.  

We, Treadwell's Partners In Education (PIE), are committed to the children at Treadwell and in the surrounding community.  We are raising funds for the creation of a nature playground.  A nature playground uses creative landscaping to give kids an outdoor experience with some fun twists to enhance their innate curiosity and allow them to interact with nature. 

We are raising funds to do this with the help of the Century of Soul Challenge (celebrating Memphis's bicentennial year).  Every dollar that you personally give up to $1,000 is matched!  And they will match up to $10,000 collectively.  So your $5 donation automatically becomes $10.  Your $25 donation becomes $50.  Your $1000 donation becomes $2000!  Every dollar counts and when this project becomes a reality you will personally be recognized as someone who helped make it happen.  We cannot do this without you!

the steps

Currently a team of professional architects and landscape designers are working on plans for the play area.  They are meeting with students, parents, teachers, and neighborhood residents for ideas, drawing concept plans, and just being creative.  So far, The Natural Playground will feature a collection of vertical poles to define the space, provide shade, and engage the imagination. A series of small hills envelops the northern and western edges, and adds activities for kids such as a climbing a net, crawling through a tunnel, and walking on balance beams. Stepping pads lead from the gateway into a central gathering place around a sandbox at the base of a playhouse. Seating areas at the gateway between the existing parking lot and this new playscape provide teachers and caretakers with shade and views over the entire park. 

We have a goal of raising $20,000 through this campaign by the end of November.  After the funds are raised we will begin work on the playground.  Some of the work will use volunteers and some of the work will need to be contracted out. 

We want the kids to be using the playground before the end of the 2019/2020 school year!

why we're doing it

Countless studies have shown how important time in nature is to childhood development, academics, physical and mental health. However, according to the Trust for Public Land, residents in the Heights neighborhood have the lowest access to improved park space in Memphis (ParkServe Index).  This is particularly concerning in an area where 22% of households have no vehicle available, and therefore cannot access park space outside of the community (American Community Survey, 2012-2016).

This nature playground is a gift for our kids now that will affect them for the rest of their lives.  Educationally, our children need a break in the day to get outside. Recent studies by the Centers for Disease Control have found that time spent in recess improves attention, concentration on tasks, and academic performance. It is so important that families have a place within walking distance to enjoy nature and exercise their mind and body.  A recent study published by the National Academy of Sciences found that children with poor access to greenspace have a 55% higher risk for mental health disorders later in life. This playground addresses health issues, educational issues, and justice and equity issues, just to name a few.


Materials - $7,000

Installation - $10,000

Planning and Design - $500

Landscaping - $2,500

SUBTOTAL $20,000

ioby Platform Fee $35

ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $600

Total to Raise on ioby= $20,635



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This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • The Forlines
  • Gina the Hat
  • Coronada Romero
  • Karina Fernandez
  • Christ Community Church Mitchell Heights
  • Michelle Ye
  • Casa Church
  • Rachel R.
  • Emilie B.
  • the Gongs
  • Anonymous
  • Kamisha
  • James F Forlines
  • Gretchen Biere
  • Larry Ray Reed
  • Treadwell PIE (Partners in Education)
  • MK H.
  • Gina the Hat