Help us design Kate and Peter’s Treehouse!

Outdoor learning

The outdoor learning spaces will continue the mission of the Frick Environmental Center of Education Through Restoration.

Beginning in 2012, young visitors to Frick Park will have a new way to learn about nature when a new outdoor learning space is built near the Environmental Center. This innovative project, honoring Kate and Peter Ambrusko, is the first of several outdoor learning spaces proposed for the park. It will have a “treehouse” theme, and will be designed to enhance children’s experience of nature by incorporating scientific inquiry with play.

But first, we want your input—and your kids’ input!—to make sure that this is a space that is welcoming, fun, educational, and accessible to all. We’re hosting a series of three public meetings for kids, parents, and interested community members. Sign up for these meetings at

Thursday, April 28, 5:30 – 7:30pm
Colfax Elementary School, 2332 Beechwood Boulevard

This session is all about the kids! We invite children, parents, and teachers to join us for a fun, hands-on session where we’ll learn what kids would love to see in the park. Space is limited, and light dinner will be provided.

Thursday, June 2, 5:30 – 7:30pm
Frick Environmental Center, 2005 Beechwood Boulevard

Everyone is welcome at this outdoor session, where we’ll be visiting the location of the treehouse and asking everyone for their ideas. Following this activity, the project team will begin to develop design concepts.

Thursday, July 28, 5:30 – 7:30pm
Location TBD

At this public meeting, the project team will unveil a preliminary design for the treehouse, and community members can provide feedback. We’ll have an activity room for kids while the parents attend the meeting.

About the Project Team
The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy will serve as project manager for the treehouse, working closely with a team that includes Pittsburgh’s Department of City Planning, Department of Public Works, and Citiparks. Together, this group selected the design team that will bring the treehouse to life.  We’re so excited about what these wonderful groups are going to bring to the park.

The project’s lead is Terra Design Studios, a Pittsburgh-based landscape architecture firm that specializes in creating outdoor spaces for children. Terra has built children’s gardens throughout the country with the philosophy that landscapes can support the growth of future stewards of the environment. The project architect and leaders in community participation will be evolveEA, a firm renowned for its expertise in sustainable design.

Urban Tree ForgeThe final project partner is Urban Tree Forge, which turns wood salvaged from Pittsburgh’s forests into sustainable building materials. The craftsmen at Urban Tree Forge specialize in transforming this reclaimed wood into artistic creations. Their participation in this project helps the cycle of the forest to live on, as dead or dying trees will be repurposed to create this new park amenity.

Preparation of the treehouse site for construction is planned for fall 2011. Wrapup of construction and final plantings are tentatively scheduled for spring 2012.