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This Treehouse Is More Than Just an Outdoor Clubhouse

June 20, 2014
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This Treehouse Is More Than Just an Outdoor Clubhouse
An old shipping container gains a second life as a tool to teach kids about the environment.

Metal sculptures, installations made of reclaimed materials and sprawling animal art murals adorn the grounds at the Lincoln Street Art Park in Detroit.

The park, located in a vacant lot behind local nonprofit recycling center Recycle Here! was not only meant to turn clutter into a community resource, but to create a space for local artists and children to appreciate the concept of green art.

“The act of recycling is for the generation behind you,” said Recycle Here! founder Matthew Naimi. “For kids, recycling is an answer for cleaning up their city. They see the litter and dumping all around them, and they don’t like it.”

And now, the recycling center is teaming up with educational nonprofit Green Living Science (GLS) to attract even more city kids to the local art park by turning a shipping container into a giant treehouse and learning lab. “Activi-Tree,” a large treehouse with the shipping container at the base, would be a year-round classroom for field trips and programs at the Lincoln Street Art Park, according to MLive.com.

The groups are aiming to raise $8,000 for the project, commissioning artists, welders, and designers to help create the outdoor classroom that will teach STEM-focused courses and environmental science while promoting the “three R’s” of recycling: reduce, reuse and recycle. The giant treehouse will use solar-powered LED lights, which will also light up the park, according to GLS.

Both organizations have extensively worked with city schools to teach children recycling through school assemblies, professional development programs, and in-class presentations. This year alone, the two organizations have implemented programs in 25 schools. With the addition of a treehouse learning lab, Lincoln Street Art Park could be the perfect backdrop to inspire the next generation of urban planners.

Want to donate? Check out Green Living Science’s donation page here.

MORE: From Trash to Transit: Detroit’s Innovative Uses for Demolished Homes

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