Help Yellowstone-Area Youth Discover Nature!

by Montana Audubon, Inc.


The Montana Audubon Center, in Billings, Montana, connects people with nature, with an emphasis on under-served youth and families. As part of our Center's programs, we are developing, promoting, and operating Montana's first public, ADA accessible Nature Play Area. This space will provide a safe, free place for children to play outside and connect with nature in an unstructured manner. This unique play area will mimic natural components found along the nearby Yellowstone River corridor.

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Billings-area youth are failing to connect with nature. Research suggests that limited outdoor experiences hamper the physical and emotional development of children. Many families do not have the resources, equipment, time to enrich the lives of their children by introducing them to the natural environment. Consequently, children are missing out on the natural wonders of earth. As conservationists we know that instilling a conservation ethic in our youth is essential for saving the planet.


Our Nature Play Area will include an exploratory tunnel, life-like permanent bird nests, drums in a musical area, and benches for rest & reflection. Made of natural components, like rocks & hillocks, the area will represent a larger wild environment in a way which feels safe and manageable for young visitors. Ultimately, our new Shepard Nature Play Space will encourage many thousands of children to confidently explore as they gain skills and develop a lasting affinity for the natural world.

Long-Term Impact

The Montana Audubon Center's Shepard Nature Play Space, and adjacent areas of natural habitat, free and accessible to the public, is located within a rapidly growing urban community. Its close proximity to Billings' low-income south-side district provides meaningful, year-round environmental science and outdoor recreation for at-risk youth. Low income students and families benefit. Diverse experiences are provided to connect with nature and each other--a win for the whole community.

Additional Documentation

This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).


Montana Audubon Center website
Nature Play Space Information
Montana Audubon Facebook Page

Organization Information

Montana Audubon, Inc.

Location: Helena, MT - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Montana Audubon
Montana Audubon, Inc.
Steve Hoffman
Project Leader:
Steve Hoffman
Helena, MT United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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