NRPA collaborated with The Walt Disney Company, including Disney Citizenship, Disney|ABC Television Group and ESPN, during Earth Month to expand the Meet Me at the Park initiative by providing 16 communities with resources to improve local parks through projects that connect kids to nature, inspire healthy living, and increase kids’ access to sports.
Throughout April 2017 the public was invited to nominate a city anywhere across the United States to be entered into a contest for $20,000, as well as, vote on park improvement projects in the 15 designated communities to determine which project also received $20,000. One additional city was selected as our write-in nomination winner by having the most write-ins. Check out the winners below!
Designated City Project Winners
The Mobile Science Vehicle, equipped with a traveling science laboratory and materials for over 350 diverse informal science projects, will be used to help dispel the sense of fear about science by providing hand-on opportunities in technology and science at the community center and various park sites throughout the City.
California: Los Angeles
The South Los Angeles Wetlands Park is a 2014 Envision (TM) Platinum Award winning, re-purposed nine acre public nature park and sustainable storm water treatment wetland. Because of its abundant use, much of the landscape has depreciated and is in need of restoration including tree planting and nature signage.
California: San Francisco
The Greenagers Program is designed to connect teens in the 9th and 10th grades who live in or attend school in San Francisco's underserved southeastern quadrant, to wildlife areas in their own communities. This project will fund a restoration project in the community lead by the teens as part of the program.
W.A.T.E.R. (Water Activities Touches Everyone’s Road) combines the American Red Cross’s Jr. Lifeguard and Lifeguard Certification Programs with canoeing, fishing, and short distance leveled hiking. Youth between the ages of 13 - 16 will be introduced to these activities at the City's outdoor pools and parks while developing skills and certifications.
Florida: Brevard County
The Ulumay Wildlife Sanctuary will build mini-bird viewing platforms that would give permanent interior views of the sanctuary, as vegetation currently prevents wildlife viewing. These platforms will include signage of birding, park history, distance markers for hikers and maps to enhance the nature experience.
Miami-Dade: A community fruit and vegetable garden will be developed and planted in Gwen Cherry Park, located near the underserved communities. The garden will be used to teach garden management through a program that provides part-time entry level paid positions with Parks.
New outdoor fitness equipment will be installed along an accessible walking/bike trail to improve the fitness levels in youth and adults at Orlando's largest, most used park, Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake.
A new Nature Play Space will take the place of a former playground at Welles Park and will serve as an open play space, full of hidden nooks, climbing challenges, buzzing wildlife and elements of fun. The area will also be utilized for nature programming for residents of all ages.
New York: New York
Green Patch on Walton is a community garden in the Mount Hope neighborhood of the Bronx. The project will bring sunlight, food, and nature back to the space by making it more accessible, installing seating, a shed and a rain water harvesting system.
North Carolina: Charlotte
Learning gardens consisting of pollinator, vegetable and ozone gardens will be created at 10 recreation centers throughout the County. These gardens will be used to teach the community the benefits of eating fresh foods, the importance of gardening for wildlife, and the impacts gardening has on the environment.
North Carolina: Durham
The basketball courts are one of its most popular features of Walltown park and are in need of resurfacing and replacement of the existing goals. New adult fitness equipment and horseshoe pits will be installed to provide an option for recreation and allow for programs and tournaments for park visitors.
The Philly Pump Track is located in a beautiful outdoor setting and offers a unique mountain bike experience in the city. This project will make the track a more desirable facility by adding security fencing to the site, adding soil tac to the surface of the track and purchasing more equipment.
The Kealing School Tennis courts send storm water downhill toward a newly developed playground. This project will collect the storm water into a pollinator meadow to encourage infiltration and provide a nearby nature play opportunity.
Oak Forest Park, a place where everyone can play, is preparing for a major makeover. Through this program, two tennis courts, which offer free children's tennis lessons and open play throughout the year, will be upgraded to enhance the player's experience.
This project will restore a vital environmental education connection trail at Carkeek Park between the Salmon Bearing Creek and the Viewlands Elementary school by rebuilding and rerouting parts of the trail to provide safe, equitable access for the school and the surrounding community.
Write-In City Winner
Texas: McAllen: McAllen Nature Center