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Why a Natural Park?

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A large portion of the park will be natural, which benefits kids in numerous ways

  • Early experiences with the natural world have been positively linked with the development of imagination and the sense of wonder (Louv 1991). Wonder is an important motivator for lifelong learning (Wilson 1997)
  • Unstructured play protects children’s emotional development (Ginsberg 2007)
  • Exposure to natural environments improves children’s cognitive development by improving their awareness, reasoning and observational skills (Pyle 2002)
  • Nature buffers the impact of life’s stresses on children and helps them deal with adversity. The greater the amount of nature exposure, the greater the benefits (Wells & Evans, 2003)

Spending time in nature helps kids be more ready to learn

  • Natural environments stimulate social interaction between children and improves their ability to be generous and kind (Bixler, 2002; Weinstein, Przybylski and Ryan, 2009)
  • Children with ADHD are better able to concentrate after contact with nature (Taylor 2001; Kuo and Farber 2004)natural park1
  • Children’s levels of stress falls within minutes of seeing green spaces (Kuo & Farber, 2004)
  • Children with views of and contact with nature score higher on tests of concentration and self-discipline. The greener, the better the scores (Wells 2000, Taylor 2002)
  • Play in a diverse natural environment reduces or eliminates bullying (Malone & Tranter 2003)

Open space in the park will enable wildlife to flourish

  • The Western portion of the park is largely natural
  • Wetland 
  • Mown lawn paths
  • Places for quiet reflection and Nature observation



River otter, beaver, raccoon, deer, snakes, and bald eagles have been seen.
- The Highland Park Bridge is home to the Allegheny River’s most unusual colony of breeding birds – the Herring Gull.

Aspinwall Riverfront Park

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