Camp Twin Lakes in Rutledge, Georgia, a non-profit organization which opened in 1993, “provides places and paths for children with serious illnesses and life challenges to experience the joys of childhood and grow in their confidence and capabilities.” A new, eco-friendly, majestic treehouse, designed by Amy Leathers of Lord, Aeck & Sargent was just added to the ‘Wild Side’ — a secluded part of the camp’s site. Here, immersed in rustic nature, camp goers may revel in twisty slides, climbing nets, a zip line and trap doors throughout the wheelchair accessible treehouse — while also learning about green living via the sustainably designed features inherent in the treehouse and in its Utopian woodsy backdrop.
Executive director of Camp Twin Lakes, Eric Robbins says, the treehouse is “a perfect educational tool for children and adults to learn about sustainability options.” Green features of the treehouse include: a 1,700-square-foot green roof garden, a 1.4-kilowatt, eight-module photovoltaic solar array mounted on a nearby pole to supply the treehouse’s three ceiling fans and misting system pump with DC power, two dry composting toilets, a copper rain chain to help divert rainwater that comes from a copper gutter over the door, and three domed skylights in the roof garden which provide natural light and allow the campers to study the tree canopy and its animal inhabitants from inside the treehouse.
Additionally, students and professors from a sculpture class at the Savannah College of Art and Design created totem pole inspired sculptures from old telephone poles to punctuate the nature trail which leads to the Wild Side. Each totem pole represents an element of nature and an animal intended to watch over and care for campers.
Creative director of Camp Twin Lakes, Cynthia Gentry sums up the treehouse best stating, “These kids, so much of their lives are focused on what they can’t do. For them, the treehouse is so wonder-filled and unexpected. It’s accessible to everybody, it’s comforting and it’s a special, healing, almost spiritual place…”
Treehouse Images © 2009 Jonathan Hillyer Photography
Totem Pole Image courtesy of SCAD