By Kelsey Musick
Boone County Solid Waste Management District awarded a $5,000 community grant to Zion Nature Center last month to cover the cost of five picnic tables.
Each year, the Boone County Solid Waste Management District offers a community grant to fund projects that fall within the scope of its mission — to conserve natural resources, decrease dependence on disposal, demonstrate the importance of sustainability and promote health in Boone County.
The nature center has been continually repairing its wooden picnic tables for the past several years due to parts having rotted or split, according to Zionsville Parks and Recreation Park Naturalist and Zion Nature Center Manager Mindy Murdock,
“Last year, we began researching how we could replace the picnic tables, as there are now more replacement boards than the original (wood),” Murdock said.
Because wooden tables require maintenance and do not last long outdoors, Zion Nature Center staff priced out the cost for replacement tables made from recycled lumber.
The BCSWMD grant allows the nature center to replace all picnic tables at once, rather than one or two tables per year during the next few years.
“We decided to build our own instead of buying pre-made ones,” Murdock said. “We should be able to get 15 or more years out of the new tables.”
The picnic tables at the nature center, the only environmental education facility in Boone County, are utilized as an outdoor classroom. Between campfires, summer camps, Zionsville Nature Play Days and other programs, they are heavily used each year.