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Beaver Lodge Play Structure

$1,895 of $4,000 goal

Raised by 19 people in 1 month
In 2017, I focused much of my time providing Pro Bono services for community projects and nonprofits. 

I’m happy to say that I could provide over $200,000 in services for the Kalamazoo Uber Shooting Memorial, Capitol Area Humane Society’s Intake Addition and Renovation, and designing the Beaver Lodge Play Structure for the Harris Nature Center.

The Beaver Lodge Play Structure has been a significant undertaking.  Not only did I provide the Pro Bono design services, but I also led community volunteers in constructing the lodge from the foundations up.  The Lodge now stands at 95% completion and I’m seeking help in purchasing some specialty glass that we need to finish up this children’s learning node.

The Beaver Lodge is part of Harris Nature Center’s ‘Path of Discovery’; a collection of projects that were master planned to promote getting children outdoors to play, pretend, and learn about nature. 

The Beaver Lodge is designed to allow children to experience what it may be like to be a beaver—in a stick lodge, under the water, and above the water.  This unique design is a two story structure with a laminated glass ‘floor’.  The glass is representative of the water’s surface—children can stand on the ‘water’ to peer down through at children below, and children can look up through the water’s surface to the crest of the lodge, sky and trees.

The glass we need to finish this project (and the accessories to securely install it) costs $5,000.  This is not something that we can simply go to a home improvement store and pick up—it is a tempered, laminated glass that can safely support children and adults (the same material they use for windshields, but thicker!).

The $5,000 expense is too much to burden the nonprofit for, but it remains an essential part of this unique design that will serve as a learning center for children far into the future.  Help me finish off my year of giving by helping me see this project through its last 5% of construction.

Thanks for your consideration!  David C. VanderKlok; Architect, Donor, and Volunteer





Concept image of the glass panels representative of the water’s surface


Original Plan View

Foundations going in and the center ring of columns in place.  The first two sticks of the lodge are bent into place.


Volunteers locally harvested 300 saplings for the construction of the lodge.  This was done with great care and supervision to assure that those harvested were problematic—most of them to alleviate crowding and promote healthier stands of trees in the woods.


A view of the (donated) specialty steel bases that hold the columns.  They are set into the concrete foundations.


A view of the complex framing and bolting (no right angles in this design)


The ‘snarl’ of sticks are twisted, bent and formed to create the beaver lodge structure (the plywood squares are the templates for the glass)


The ladder from the original design was deleted and a stair was constructed instead to make the top platform more accessible to those with limited mobility (and for those who would otherwise be afraid to climb a ladder)


A view of the top platform—the stick lodge is cresting through, and the guardrail system under construction.  The plywood squares are the templates for the glass panels.


A view from inside the lodge.  What a unique view!  Imagine being a kid exploring this structure!


Detail view of the guardrails and plywood templates.


The beaver lodge at a standstill, waiting for glass installation to complete the build.


Please help me finish this community project!
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Good afternoon, All!
We are pleased to report that we've had an offline donation to the Beaver Lodge of $1,000 from Helen and Howard Tanner. We are lowering the GoFundMe goal amount from $5,000 to $4,000 with this donation in mind. To be clear, the project cost demand is the same, but our GOFUNDME goal is now $1,000 lower because the transaction was performed outside of this online platform.
We'd like to say thank you to everyone who has donated thus far. We are so thankful for your support in our ambitions. The Harris Nature Center Foundation sends their thanks, as well! The campaign will continue to reflect new donations and your kind donations will continue to inch us closer to our aspirations.
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$1,895 of $4,000 goal

Raised by 19 people in 1 month
Funds raised will benefit:
Harris Nature Center Foundation
  Certified Charity
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Okemos, MI
EIN: 383572150
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JL
$25
Jill Lapham
24 days ago
KL
$300
Kirk Lapham
29 days ago
CW
$20
Clare Wefelmeyer
1 month ago
PR
$50
Pat & Larry Robbins
1 month ago
DV
$130
David VanderKlok
1 month ago
DT
$100
Dave Trumpie
1 month ago
MV
$50
Matt V
1 month ago
RG
$50
Rachel Gutting
1 month ago
LS
$25
Lieutenant Squik
1 month ago
TD
$50
Thomas Doyle
1 month ago
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