Living Willow Hut and Water Habitat
Syracuse University’s Early Childcare Center
What began as an artist-in-residence project with Syracuse University’s early Childhood Center, ended up being an all-year project-oriented learning extravaganza involving children, beavers, monster habitats, fabric waterfalls, waterplay wildness and this end result: a child-sized beaver lodge, tunnel and den system made from living willow, plus a cedar log water trickle down the side of a hill.
Based on some of the wild and wooly water play stations we were creating indoors during the winter, we decided to make a large-scale waterflow outside for fun, exploration and experimentation. We bought rot-resistant Cedar logs from a local sawmill. A parent chainsawed a “V” in the logs for te water to spill through. We dug out steps in the hill to set the logs and dug a deep pit in teh bottom and filled it with stones for drainage. The water source? Simple: we drilled a hole in the uppermost log and mounted a “Dog Faucet” in it. A garden hose can easily be attached to the end of the faucet anything the teachers want water play to happen. The dog faucet is a simple device that screws to a hose or faucet hookup and allows a dog to toggle a small flipper to let a trickle of water out to drink from. In this case the children can toggle the flipper and let out a trickle of water for fun!