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Issue:- 31 July 2014

19 Building a hide with the help of Laura Williams, Forest School Leader for the project, are Leah Woods , 4 and her sister Isabella, 2 from West Kirby

The Central Park virtual tours is just one aspect of the busy summer activities programme set up for youngsters at the transformed unit at Pyramids Shopping Centre.

A whole host of other activities taking place over the summer at the unit, which has been dressed to recreate the inside of a forest using branches and camouflage, complete with woodchip on the floor and a dedicated buggy park area.

The free summer activities will be available for children to enjoy from 10am to 4pm and run every Monday, Tuesday and Friday until Friday, 29 August 2014.

On Friday, 1 August 2014, a minibeast and face painting session will be held. There are Gruffalo Days on Monday, 4 August 2014 and Monday, 11 August 2014, while a demonstration of country crafts such as basket-making is planned for 5 August 2014.

A chance to make a bughouse and a face painting session will be held on 8 August 2014 and a talk about bats will be held onn 12 August 2014.

On a historical note, Central Park is an urban park in the New York City borough of Manhattan. It was opened in 1857 to 10 years after Birkenhead Park; on 778 acres of City owned land and now covers 843 acres.

15 Hiding out in the forest, Maizey Hoyle, 4 and her brother Eliott, 6

In 1858, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux won a design competition to improve and expand the park. Construction began the same year and was completed in 1873. Central Park is now the most visited urban park in the United States.

Designated a National Histroic Landmark in 1962, the park is currently managed by the Central Park Conservatory under contract with the City government and has an annual budget of $37.5 million.

According to Olmsted, the park was "of great importance as the first real park made in this country; a democratic development of the highest significance" a view probably inspired by his stay and various trips in Europe during 1850. He visited several parks during these trips and was particularly impressed by Birkenhead Park.

Wirral Junior Rangers transformed a unit at the Pyramids Shopping Centre with woodland into an indoor forest and children are den building, looking at bugs and enjoying crafts and enjoyed a live link up with Central Park in New York where youngsters will go on a Skype virtual tour of the park. Central Park was modelled on Birkenhead Park and Wirral Rangers at Wirral Council have been fostering links with their equivalent in New York.

05 Kyle Alasksen, 9 from Bebbington hiding out in the forest.

The 2 Pauls were kept extremely busy during their two week stay in New York, sharing the skills and knowledge they have developed during their years as park rangers in Birkenhead to their counterparts in New York.

They gave presentations on subjects such as the history of Birkenhead Park and its influence on the development of other urban public parks, including Central Park. They explained their role as a Ranger in a British park and particularly how British parks engage and integrate with the local community.  And they discussed the success of the Forest Schools programme they have established at Birkenhead Park.

In Forest Schools, pupils learn how to build dens, become aware of the natural environment and discover history, maths, literacy and science and their application in the natural world.

Paul said he was hoping a spin-off from the live Central Park virtual tours would create closer links between New York children and Birkenhead youngsters.

03 Enjoying the live link with Project officer Paul Davies is Kathryn Gidman from Rock Ferry with her children Riley, 5 and Logan, 2.

Commercial Director of Pyramids, Derek Millar, who was watching the first transatlantic link-up, said:- "I know Central Park very well. I've been there about a dozen times as I'm a frequent visitor to New York, so it was fantastic to see it live today.  The whole thing was fascinating and very educational and to have the opportunity to be able to do something like this at Pyramids is just excellent. I'd like to thank Paul Davies and Terry Carter and her colleagues at the New York end for making this link possible."

02 Charlotte Alcock, 6. from Birkenhead with some of the animals she made.

Doug Blonsky, President and CEO, Central Park Conservancy, and Central Park Administrator said:- "Bringing live snapshots of Central Park to the heart of Birkenhead is a great way to highlight the terrific partnership Central Park Conservancy is fostering with the Wirral Rangers and Birkenhead Park. In the same way that Central Park's designers were inspired by Birkenhead Park over 160 years ago, we hope this virtual exchange with the children and families on the Wirral will inspire a greater sense of pride in Birkenhead Park and its significance to the urban park movement."

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