Hippoie Creek brings joys of a stream to UNC Children's Hospital

By Michelle Brisson, Communications Student

child playing in Hippoie Creek

Sometimes we find inspiration in unexpected places. For Katie Stoudemire, program manager of Wonder Connection, inspiration came from eight-year-old Eleanor Bothwell.

Eleanor was a patient at UNC Children’s several years ago. Katie had the idea to design a creek cart that would enable kids to play in the creek from their hospital bed. She consulted Eleanor who helped Katie ensure that the design would enable kids to feel that they were having an authentic creek experience.

Last month, Stoudemire and the Wonder Connection’s 10-year-old science ambassador, Taylon Morrison, unveiled the program’s newest addition—- Hippoie Creek.

Hippoie Creek, a portable and safe creek bed, gives children and teenage patients at UNC Hospitals the opportunity to explore and experiment with natural habitats without ever leaving their bed. With its own flowing river, creek critters and fabric leaves, the Creek provides a realistic outdoor environment that promotes learning and inspires play.

Stoudemire said that she wanted to name the creek after Eleanor, and that they chose the name Hippoie because it seemed an even better fit. Eleanor’s beloved stuffed hippo named Hippoie had found its way into the hospital laundry. Unlike many things that unintentionally end up in the laundry, Hippoie returned unharmed.

In this way, the creek was named “after Eleanor and after all of the kids who have lost something by being in the hospital”, said Stoudemire. “And it’s our hope that we will help them find some of what they are missing.”

Hippoie Creek offers another avenue for the Wonder Connection to achieve its goal of empowering pediatric patients with the wonders of nature and science, by providing them with hands-on, natural science activities.

Updated on February 02, 2017 at 10:36:14 am.