There are moments that inspire each of us to take action and become better versions of our selves. Moments we remember because they stimulated our senses; whether visually or through a touch or smell or from what we heard or tasted. AL!VE provides that for all ages: creating moments of wonder, heightening our senses, motivating us to reach for more.
INSPIRE, a new sculpture being gifted to AL!VE from the Howser family, captures the spirit of those moments – new beginnings that lead us to transform and evolve and become better. The sculpture is being built in the late summer, early fall and will be unveiled in October.
“When Lee Howser saw the rainbow that inspired this sculpture, he was moved to give back,” said Barbara Fulton, HGB community development director. “Now his family’s art has a chance to inspire others. We are excited and grateful for their gift.”
INSPIRE is one of many new developments in PRESERVE, the grassland prairie that surrounds AL!VE. PRESERVE is one of several spaces at AL!VE that stimulate senses and inspire action: whether walking on the outdoor trail, gardening, relaxing on its memorial benches, or watching and learning about the natural wildlife habitat, it serves as a hub within our community.
One of the first developments within PRESERVE was the Floyd M. Jewell Memorial, which heads up the outdoor walking path in front of AL!VE. An intention was for it to serve as a community trailhead. Recently a trail to AL!VE was opened from Foote Street. It was built through a Barry Eaton District Health Department grant to improve non-motorized transportation in Charlotte.
“There were several different locations we could have chosen,” said Patrick Sustrich, AL!VE executive director. “We decided on Foote Street because of our partnership with the school system, and wanting to provide easier access for students.” The addition of a crosswalk on Lawrence Avenue is also being considered. AL!VE and Charlotte Public Schools continue to collaborate on several opportunities including expanding programming to better serve students and their families.
PRESERVE is also a field-trip destination for school classes and youth programs. The native plants, grasslands and gardens provide for a unique learning experience. AL!VE has partnered with Fenner Nature Center to bring its Nature A-Bounds! program to Eaton County students. Additionally an outdoor classroom is being developed inside HARVEST, the gardens in PRESERVE, where the food grown is shared with the schools and in the HGB Café, and soon potentially with local food banks. And Deb Dillon, MS, RDN, HGB’s clinical dietitian is working with the health department to license salsa and pizza sauce made from food grown in HARVEST. There will be opportunities for local students interested in business to create plans to help sell the products. Funds raised will support the development and maintenance of the gardens.
The Boy Scouts of America is another community organization soon to make use of PRESERVE. They are developing merit badge programs and are looking at other service opportunities in the near future, including providing options for Eagle Scout projects.
“AL!VE’s services, programs and facilities are about helping our community become more healthy and vital,” Sustrich said. “Even when it was just an idea in our minds, AL!VE was about connecting to our community and collaborating to create something bigger and better for all of us. INSPIRE will creatively demonstrate our mission and goals.”
If you’d like to learn more about INSPIRE and how you can become involved with this project, you can contact Sustrich at AL!VE at 517-541-5860. Learn more about AL!VE at myalive.com.
Photo courtesy of Rod Weaver features the PRESERVE area in front of AL!VE where INSPIRE will be built.