EnCana and EnerCrest contribute $20,000
To support Big Piney Children’s Learning Center
by The Learning Center
October 31, 2008
EnCana Oil and Gas (USA) Inc. contributed $20,000 to the Children’s Learning Center to help build the Big Piney Play Garden Project, an outdoor play and learning environment at the Big Piney Learning Center. EnerCrest, Inc. of Big Piney has also pledged to contribute construction services valued at $5,000 as well as building materials at a discounted rate to help implement the Play Garden.
"Currently, the children have a barren fenced space for outdoor play that has limited equipment and areas to play," said Martha Ptasnik, education director of the Children’s Learning Center. "The children will benefit by having an outdoor space that allows large movement and learning opportunities not possible in an indoor environment."
The Play Garden will contain natural plants and materials found in Sublette County such as trees, shrubs, butterfly attracting flowers, rocks, water and sand. It is designed for three to five year old children who have a variety of skill levels and learning styles. The Learning Center provides preschool as well as therapy services for children in need. The goal is to meet the full range of children’s developmental needs including cognitive, social, emotional, language, creative skills and physical needs.
"Children and teachers will use the outdoor play space in a multitude of ways that will expand programs incorporating nature study, science, math, creative art projects and motor movement exercises," said Ptasnik. "Nature provides learning opportunities that cannot be replicated inside a classroom."
"The Big Piney Play Garden is a unique blend of education in a natural environment," said Randy Teeuwen, EnCana community relations advisor. "EnCana is pleased to contribute to this innovative approach to learning that will enable our children to develop instructional skills, while increasing their understanding, awareness and connection to nature and the outdoors."
Working with the children in the outdoors will also develop and broaden special education services such as occupational, physical, speech and language therapies. "Families who have children with special needs rely on the Learning Center to provide distinct educational services before entering kindergarten," said Ptasnik. "The Play Garden will provide the outdoor learning environment needed for children to reach their full potential."
The Play Garden will also be used as a tool to increase family participation and increase the understanding of outdoor learning with the local community. Plans for family barbeques and outdoor community events for the 2009/10 school year are already in the works. The Play Garden Project is targeted for completion in the summer of 2009.
"The Children’s Learning Center and Play Garden represent a valuable asset in our community, and EnerCrest supports the environment that they are creating for our children," said Todd Erickson, COO of EnerCrest. "Contributing to the success of this project enhances our community for everyone."