How Posey Place Got its Name

By Dexter Lane, Nature Explore Program Writer and Consultant

DSCF0244The First Christian Church in Temple, Texas, didn’t have any free ground on which to build their Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom.  They did have some outdoor space; it just wasn’t soil, so “Posey Place,” the church preschool’s outdoor classroom, is built on a concrete surface between vivid red brick buildings.

Just because soil isn’t underfoot, this outdoor classroom doesn’t skimp on attracting children’s curiosity about nature.  Large planter boxes containing a variety of plants are placed around the area, as are many large plant pots.  Together they house plants in varying stages of growth.  All invite children’s investigations, and their caretaking skills.  Watering the plants in the hot Texas climate is a popular activity.  Also popular is the Discovery Table, with many natural materials available for exploration with magnifiers, or for use in construction or art projects.  A big tub with toys allows children to refresh themselves with water in the heat, and to learn about its properties.  Natural wood at-ease benches and arbors also contribute to the “nature feel” of this small, intimate space.

DSCF0223c Rita Morrelli, the Children’s Ministry Director for the church spoke movingly of how Posey Place got its name.  When she shared with the church board the vision for the Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom, one family took a special interest in the idea.  Dr. Delma Posey, patriarch of the Posey family, a retired dermatologist, and widely respected member of the Temple community, was an avid gardener.  He believed nature should be available to children, and wanted to ensure this space would always have resources to keep it going.  Around this time, he was diagnosed with colon cancer.   He soon made arrangements for the outdoor classroom to receive $500 monthly for upkeep.

DSCF0288 When the outdoor classroom was constructed, Rita made a wooden “Posey Place” sign and installed it on the gateway entrance.  “Doctor Del” made one last trip to the church, seeing Posey Place, with the sign, shortly before he died.  Members of his family still attend the church weekly.  Doctor Del’s grandchildren see the space as one of his legacies.  Plants from his personal garden are among those that children now tend.

“That’s how we got the name Posey Place,” said Rita.  “He’s there.”