Five Reasons to Celebrate Parks and the Planet on Earth Day

(April 22, 2020)

Parks build a healthy planet

Ashburn, Va. (April 22, 2020) — On Earth Day, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), the nation’s leading advocate for parks and recreation, invites everyone to celebrate the conservation benefits of parks in communities nationwide. NRPA encourages everyone to recognize and thank the park and recreation professionals who help protect the planet through the parks and open spaces they manage, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.       

NRPA’s top five ways parks build a healthy planet include:

  • Parks serve an essential role in preserving natural resources and wildlife habitat, protecting clean water and clean air, and providing open space for current and future generations.
  • Parks provide an essential connection for people of all ages and abilities to the life-enhancing benefits of nature and the outdoors.
  • Parks are key to ensuring the health of our environment because they play a critical role in maintaining healthy ecosystems, preserving biodiversity and enabling conservation of natural resources.
  • Parks help mitigate the effects of climate change using techniques, such as Green Stormwater Infrastructure, and help cool cities through vast tree canopies.
  • Park and recreation professionals educate the public about the value of conservation, connect children and youth to nature and the outdoors, and coordinate environmental stewardship with other public and nonprofit entities.

“Parks are absolutely essential to the health and well-being of our planet,” said Kristine Stratton, NRPA president and CEO. “That’s why on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day we celebrate parks and the planet, and we give thanks to the park and recreation professionals who are on the frontlines, building a better future for all people in communities nationwide.” 

Nearly all U.S. adults (93 percent) believe it is important to protect natural resources, including fresh air and clean water, through the acquisition and maintenance of local parks, trails and green spaces. This includes educating children and youth on the importance of environmental conservation.

Conservation-related activities typically offered by local parks and recreation include:

  • Waste Reduction
  • Nature-Based Recreation
  • Nature Health Benefits
  • Gardening
  • Wildlife Preservation
  • Tree Plantings
  • Climate Education

Learn more about the conservation benefits of parks here.

Eighty-eight percent of people agree local parks and recreation provide good opportunities to interact with nature and the outdoors, which is more important now than ever. In fact, more than half of U.S. adults say it is extremely essential to exercise in parks and green spaces to relieve stress and remain healthy during the crisis  ¾  capturing the essential role parks play in the lives of everyone.  

NRPA supports permanent funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to ensure $900 million annually, 40 percent of which would go to state and location assistance. These funds would help create new parks or redevelop existing parks and public outdoor recreation sites. The LWCF State Assistance Program has strict requirements that ensure projects funded through the program are used for outdoor recreation in perpetuity.

As more people turn to their parks for much-needed solace during the COVID-19 outbreak, the need to increase support for local parks and recreation is at an all-time high. To conserve access to quality parks and recreation in communities everywhere, NRPA urges people of all ages to become stewards for their local parks.  

“Together, we can help ensure access to local parks is protected now and for future generations,” said Stratton.

Donate to local parks now.

Additional information about NRPA’s conservation efforts is available here.

To learn more about NRPA, visit   


About the National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all people have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit