Greener Parks for Health initiative advocates for improvements in the environment, community health and social equity
Ashburn, Va. (July 9, 2020) — The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and in partnership with Willamette Partnership, today announced the release of Greener Parks for Health resources. This suite of resources offers a variety of research-informed messages, tools and policy solutions to help park and recreation professionals communicate about, advocate for and institutionalize green infrastructure in parks to improve community well-being, especially in communities facing environmental, health, economic and social injustices.
NRPA’s Greener Parks for Health resource suite includes:
- Greener Parks for Health Communications Toolkit highlights powerful evidence and messaging for professionals to showcase the impacts of green infrastructure in parks;
- Greener Parks for Health Policy Action Framework recommends the creative use of new and existing policies and funding mechanisms at the federal, state and local levels to encourage green infrastructure in parks; and
- Greener Parks for Health Advocacy Toolkit provides key actions professionals can take to be leaders and gain cross-sector and community support for green infrastructure in parks.
“Greener parks mitigate climate impacts using green infrastructure — elements like rain gardens, bioswales and permeable pavement — which serve as essential infrastructure critical to protecting and promoting community health, well-being and resiliency. Greener parks are also key to improving social and economic challenges in communities,” said Kellie May, NRPA’s vice president of programs and partnerships. “These resources have been developed to promote parks as optimal spaces for green infrastructure and provide park and recreation professionals a roadmap to securing necessary support and investments.”
“Getting people equitable access to nature is one of the best public health moves we can make as a society. Even if it’s just a safe space for families to picnic or buddies to play pickup basketball, the physical and mental health benefits of green space are undeniable,” says Barton Robison, Willamette Partnership’s lead partner for the Oregon Health & Outdoors Initiative. “As we’re grappling with both a pandemic and the very real impacts of systemic racism, planners, park managers, city engineers and community activists should take a serious look at how green infrastructure and parks provide opportunities to keep people healthy while actively creating health equity across communities.”
This project is part of a larger effort to equip park and recreation professionals with the tools, knowledge and resources to advance equitable access to greener parks across the country. Incorporating green infrastructure into systemwide and individual park plans enhances the well-being of surrounding communities through increased health, environmental, social and economic benefits. These benefits are especially needed in under-resourced communities that are hit hardest and recover slowest from extreme weather events.
To find additional information about NRPA’s Greener Parks initiative, click here.
To see copies of the Greener Parks for Health Communications Toolkit, Policy Action Framework and Advocacy Toolkit, click here.
To learn more about NRPA, visit www.nrpa.org.
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 www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.
About Willamette Partnership
Willamette Partnership is a conservation nonprofit dedicated to solving complex environmental problems in ways that work for people. The Partnership serves as a trusted broker to the collaborative process — bringing together the information, ideas, and relationships people need to solve problems well together. We envision a world in which people work together to build resilient ecosystems, healthy communities, and vibrant economies. We work throughout the western U.S. with a focus on the Pacific Northwest. For more information visit, www.willamettepartnership.org.