Rotary Treehouse At Nature Center Takes Shape

Rotary Club of Los Alamos President Laura Loy, Rotary Service Director Oliver Morris, his children Ty Morris and Sierra Morris visit the new treehouse Friday afternoon being built at the Los Alamos Nature Center at 2600 Canyon Road. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com

Checking out the side of the treehouse under construction at the nature center Friday, from left, Laura Loy, Ty Morris, Sierra Morris and Oliver Morris. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com

 

By MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos Daily Post

As Rotary Club of Los Alamos President Laura Loy said, “Any kid that never had a treehouse growing up desperately wanted one”. Treehouses have always been associated with children playing outdoors. They give children a kind of natural extension to a child’s love of climbing trees and a unique sense of escape, imagination and freedom.

So when the Rotary Club decided it wanted to do a large project that would really give back to the community, local Rotarians began brainstorming for ideas. The club’s Service Director Oliver Morris and his son Ty like to watch the TV show “Treehouse Masters” and that’s where Morris got his project idea.

“When I was watching it I thought, wow, wouldn’t it be cool to do something like that for the community to enjoy. When I was thinking of places to have it, the Nature Center seemed like the ideal spot because of what Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) stands for. And they have some great pine trees on the property,” he said.

Morris said the Rotary Club Board discussed different ideas and the treehouse was one of them. He said Rotary has already installed planters, a picnic area and split-rail fencing at nature center and that the treehouse project has the full support of Loy, the Rotary Club, PEEC and Los Alamos County.

“We were all really excited about the treehouse idea. We are spending $30,000 on this project, which will be the most Rotary Club of Los Alamos has ever spent on a single project. We wanted it to be something really special and lasting,” Loy said. “Our club members work really hard raising funds with events like our Crabfest and Fiesta Los Alamos, and this it the kind of thing those funds pay for – projects around the community and internationally.”

Morris said what he thinks is cool is that the treehouse will get kids up in the tree line.

“It will give them a different perspective on nature. It will get them up higher but in a safe environment. The way it is designed, it will last for a long time,” he said. “We want it to be there for decades.”

Morris said Danny Romero, owner of Green Lawn Supreme, a local landscaping company, designed the treehouse and Santa Fe architect Jay Jay Shapiro worked the plans with Romero to make sure the treehouse will be 100 percent safe. Green Lawn Supreme is building the project and both Loy and Morris are looking forward to adding the final touches. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be annouced for when the project is finished, Loy said.

“More than 40,000 adults and children visit the nature center each year from throughout the country and all over the world. Taking their kids there has even become a daily routine for some parents. The Green Lawn workers say kids keep coming up to them to ask when the treehouse will be done,” Morris said.

He said children are already coming out to the Nature Center to play and the treehouse will be a central focus piece. He said one of the reasons the play area was put in was so that kids can increase their confidence level in being outside.

“I think the treehouse can also be a confidence builder for kids. It will have stairs and a bridge that goes across to a crow’s nest that is wrapped around a tree. It will be completely enclosed with viga logs so that no child can fall through. The kids are super-excited about it,” he said.

And it appears that the adults are, too.

“I can’t wait until it’s done,” Morris said.

The crow’s nest will be connected to the main treehouse by an enclosed walkway. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com

A view of the treehouse project at the nature center from Canyon Road. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com

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