Spark a child’s curiosity about the natural world. Invest in Bill’s Backyard, designed to encourage a spirit of exploration, a lifelong love of science, and a commitment to environmental stewardship.
Spark A Child's Curiosity About The Natural World
Invest in Bill’s Backyard, an outdoor play space at Children's Discovery Museum designed to encourage a spirit of exploration and a love of science.
WOW, thanks to our many supporters from the community, this online campaign for Bill’s Backyard has been extremely fast-paced, with each day of giving more thrilling than the last! We are overjoyed to report that the campaign has already blasted far beyond our goal. INCREDIBLE!!
A few weeks ago, we asked for your partnership as we prepare to burst forth beyond our Museum’s iconic purple walls and into the outdoors, with the kind of hands-on experiences, interactive learning, and opportunities for discovery that our Museum is known for. Shovels are ready to start moving dirt to make way for Bill's Backyard, a 27,500 sq. ft. outdoor play space that will be a bridge to nature for our community's children and families.
We're thrilled that our request for support clearly resonates with members of our community. In the Comments section, you can read what supporters have shared about their enthusiasm for our vision of an outdoor nature education space. Thanks to all of you from the bottom of our hearts! Because so many of you have been enthusiastic and generous, we want to share more deeply about our big dreams for this space, in the hopes that you will want to help us raise even more resources to build this amazing exhibit space. Our Children's Discovery Museum team and partners are excited that our dreams for the children of our community are shared so deeply by so many.
Fundraising Progress To Date
Our fundraising goal for the entire Bill's Backyard Project is $2.5 million. That’s a big number!
Did you know that studies show many kids today no longer have opportunities to play independently outdoors—in the woods, in the hills, beside a creek? We envision creating an immersive explore-the-outdoors environment for our regions’ nature-starved urban and suburban children. Our plan for development of 27,500 sq. ft. of outdoor space involves building a real experience of nature in a safe enclosed environment appropriate for very young children under 10 years old.
Our plan to connect families to the natural world includes planting Trees, constructing a Dry Creekbed, and building a Mini-Mountain. All of these elements are thoughtfully designed for kids' interactive engagement. The plan for Bill’s Backyard includes nature-based hands-on activity spaces such as a Pebble Dig Pit, and a Mandala Garden showcasing different types of plants such as vegetables and herbs, flowers, and native species so kids can learn about and appreciate the many benefits of the natural world. The budget for Bill’s Backyard also includes essential infrastructure costs like walkways, irrigation, and lighting, and environmental sustainability demonstration components geared to inspire family backyard projects, including a water catchment system, solar panels, a rain garden and xeriscape landscaping features. Bill’s Backyard will be a safe space, enclosed by a beautiful see-through Art Fence displaying the names of our campaign supporters.
We’ve already got some powerhouse partners that are committed to supporting the project, but it takes everyone. Remember, it’s the ongoing groundswell of community support from people like you that keeps the momentum going.
The overall Bill’s Backyard project is on track with seed support from Agilent Technologies Foundation, and a significant contribution from the City of San Jose. We also recently received the great news that Bill’s Backyard will receive major support from California’s Coastal Conservancy. We are proud that this environmental protection agency understands the importance of early nature experiences as a foundation for future environmental stewardship. Scroll down to learn more about our Project Partners.
Thanks to the strong community support through this online campaign, the amazing kid-friendly Rock Climbing Wall will be one of the many nature play features in Bill's Backyard! The Rock Climbing Wall is a natural-looking rock feature built at kid-scale, making it possible for very young children to scramble, play, and practice climbing skills. Our Stretch Goals will enable us to include many more nature experiences in Bill’s Backyard. The more money that’s raised, the more awesome outdoor adventures kids will be able to experience.
Research Shows Access To Nature Is Essential
For more than 20 years, the Museum has been successfully delivering environmental education programs that now serve 1,000 students and teachers every year in schools throughout our community.
photo courtesy of Henrik Betnér, cropped from original.
Bill’s Backyard will elevate the Museum's environmental education to a grander scale with exhibits and programs that reach 350,000 visitors each year. Children will gain memorable experiences playing outdoors in a natural environment with trees, plants, wildlife, dirt, and other natural elements. For example, the Rock Climbing Wall is one of many exploration features in Bill's Backyard.
Put Your Stake In The Ground
For every $250 you donate, you or your designee will be personally recognized with a nameplate on one of the iron stakes that will surround Bill's Backyard.
Our picturesque see-through fence will be made of hundreds of iron stakes that form a heartfelt community embrace expressing our care for the children of our community. You’ll feel proud knowing you’ve helped spark curiosity and love of nature in the next generation of scientists, environmentalists, and engineers.
With your contribution of $250 or more, you’ll also receive a Family 4-Pack for a day of fun at the Museum!
As our thanks to you, once the campaign closes on December 27, 2015, you will receive a one year Explorers Circle membership including unlimited visits to Children’s Discovery Museum. You can choose whether to use the Family 4-Pack and the membership for your own family, or whether you want to give one or both as gifts. It’s up to you.
By now you’re probably wondering “Who is Bill, and why is this cool outdoor playland named for him?”
Bill’s Backyard is named in honor of Bill Sullivan, longtime CEO of Agilent Technologies. For many years, Bill has been a faithful and visionary champion of the Museum, serving as Board Chair and foremost contributor to the annual Legacy for Children Award. As a tribute to Bill upon his retirement, Agilent Technologies has provided seed funding for our outdoor nature and science education center.
Bill’s Backyard will be a dynamic tribute to Bill Sullivan’s leadership in supporting our community’s children and his enduring commitment to science education. Bill’s influence on the success of Children’s Discovery Museum will be remembered daily as children and families enjoy immersive outdoor play experiences and intriguing demonstration exhibits that inspire science learning.
Meet Our Team
We want to introduce you to our remarkably talented and experienced team of project partners
Mark, Will, Marilee, Alicia, Jenni, JeNae, Brittany, Biret, and Rich
Team members include Children’s Discovery Museum’s in-house exhibit development team pictured above, with concept and development support from:
- Lead Architects MIG (Moore Iacofano Goltsman), designing and planning environments that support human development
- COST of Wisconsin, construction of theme and specialty exhibits
- Our City Forest, cultivating a green and healthy Silicon Valley
- The California Conservation Corps, engaging young people to protect and restores California’s natural resources
Bill’s Backyard is a major undertaking for our community’s children. Key players in supporting its development and infrastructure include the City of San Jose, the Coastal Conservancy, the Open Space Authority, and the County of Santa Clara.
Bill's Backyard Timeline
Invest in a lifelong love of nature and commitment to environmental stewardship
Help create an exceptional and inspiring outdoor space just for kids.
We invite you to become a proud contributor, with an inscribed stake in our Art Fence hugging Bill's Backyard as a lasting tribute to your community spirit. Put your stake in the ground and donate today!
Learn more about Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose at www.cdm.org/about
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