Heart Your Park Day of Service Initiative Building Resiliency in Communities Through Parks

Ashburn, VA (September 27, 2022)

NRPA and CITGO Continue Beautification and Restoration Efforts in Local Parks As Part of Day of Service

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is proud to partner with CITGO Petroleum Corporation for the fourth year of its Heart Your Park Day of Service initiative. This year, Heart Your Park is supporting Corpus Christi Parks and Recreation, Texas, and the Forest Preserves of Cook County, Illinois to advance efforts to promote resiliency in their local parks and preserves through volunteer actions.

NRPA’s Heart Your Park Day of Service program is designed to connect volunteers with the opportunity to make significant change in local parks through their hands on efforts. During the day of services, CITGO employees can serve alongside coworkers and community members as volunteers in local parks, while experienced park and recreation staff facilitate events identified as high priority needs. By engaging volunteers in conserving and restoring public park lands, NRPA aims to provide an improved quality of life in local communities throughout the U.S., while encouraging future stewards of our public spaces.

“We are proud to serve as the national leader for the ‘Heart Your Park’ Day of Service,” said Ayanna Williams, NRPA director of community and environmental resilience. “Offering opportunities for hands-on volunteer service in local communities is another way we can help advance parks, recreation, and environmental conservation efforts that enhance the quality of life for all people of all ages. Together we are creating future stewards and strengthening community led action. It’s a win-win for park agencies and corporations. We are grateful for CITGO and its continued support.”

“It is important for CITGO to be a good neighbor in the communities where we live and work. Through partnerships with organizations like the NPRA, CITGO is actively contributing to the environmental resiliency and quality of life in these communities”, commented Michael Rosen, CITGO General Manager Government & Public Affairs.

This year, Corpus Christi Parks and Recreation provided volunteer opportunities to CITGO employees and residents of the Coastal Bend area to help restore Doddridge Park and Hans & Pat Suter Refuge. Volunteers picked up more than a half a ton of trash and planted nearly 300 native plants that substantially increased the wildlife value in an important migration corridor.

“Corpus Christi Parks and Recreation is so grateful for the opportunity being provided by the NRPA and CITGO to engage our community in conservation. Recently we were looking through before and after photos of some of the work that was completed as part of this initiative from 2018, and saw magnificent growth in our landscape, further protecting our pollinators,” said Sara Jose, preserve manager.

NRPA also is partnering with the Forest Preserves of Cook County, the recipient of its 2018 Innovation in Conservation Award. Volunteers from CITGO, as well as the local community will restore four acres of forest preserve land by removing invasive plant species and reseeding with seeds locally sourced by volunteer collection efforts through this project. The Forest Preserves of Cook County plans to wrap up all efforts and projects this fall.

"The Forest Preserves of Cook County deeply appreciates NRPA and CITGO for their support of restoration and volunteer stewardship efforts. Projects like this, which may seem modest in scope, have a mighty impact on local plants, animals and people and are key to preserving these lands for future generations," said Nicole Pierson, Manager of Volunteer Resources.

NRPA has partnered with CITGO on the Heart Your Park Day of Service Initiative since 2018. Over the last four years, the Heart Your Park partnership program improved 11 parks totaling 123 acres, engaged 659 volunteers, planted 5,483 trees and plants, removed 4,950 pounds of debris, and collected four gallons of seeds to use for restoration projects. These numbers do not yet include the work from this year.

For more information on Heart Your Park Day of Service, click here.

To learn more about NRPA, visit nrpa.org.


About the National Recreation and Park Association

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is the leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to building strong, vibrant and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation. With more than 60,000 members, NRPA advances this mission by investing in and championing the work of park and recreation professionals and advocates — the catalysts for positive change in service of equity, climate-readiness, and overall health and well-being. For more information, visit nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit parksandrecreation.org.