Happy Earth Day my park and recreation friends! Today’s the day dedicated to creating awareness for a healthier and more sustainable environment. However, we know that as park and recreation professionals our earth day is really everyday as you work to create awareness and support conservation efforts in your community.
So just how do park and recreation agencies participate in Earth Day every day? We’ll share a few!
1. Conserving land
Many park and recreation agencies preserve open space for their communities to enjoy or bring nature into the city. Whether that means building a playground, expanding a trail system, establishing community gardens or putting in a sports field, they strive to make sure years from now children and families have a safe and accessible place to go to enjoy the outdoors.
2. Connecting people to nature
One of Earth Day’s main goals is to connect people with nature so they understand why it is so important to be good stewards of the earth and environment. Park and recreation agencies have this goal every day! You are consistently providing programs to encourage people to get outside and learn about planet Earth and all it has to offer. Park and recreation departments are also implementing innovative ideas to help connect more children to nature – hello nature play spaces. Here at NRPA we support you in your conservation endeavors by providing education, articles, information and programs that can help you all make a collective impact in conservation.
3. Creating green infrastructure
Parks provide the perfect opportunity for green infrastructure. All over the country parks are getting involved in how their city manages storm water; it was even listed in our Parks & Recreation magazine’s “NRPA Trendwatch 2014” article. So while Earth Day helps bring awareness to water management, park and recreation professionals are aware of it every day and are constantly highlighting what a park’s role can be in the initiative.
4. Providing habitat for wildlife
Park and recreation agencies not only gives humans a place to stretch our legs and enjoy the sunshine, but they also give a home to a lot of wildlife. If you were to go sit at your local park for an hour, how many different species of birds, insects and animals would you spot? Not only do agencies provide a home for an array of species, but park and recreation professionals also work hard to save species as well. Two recent species parks are trying to help are the Monarch Butterfly and an array of pollinators.
This is just a small sample of what park and recreation professionals do every day to create the awareness that Earth Day is intended to raise. And we thank you, for all you do, every day to help make this planet an amazing place not just for us, but for many generations to come!
What else does your agency do to create awareness for a healthier and more sustainable environment? Do you have any special programs you’re doing in honor of Earth Day? Comment below.
Morgan Rothermel is NRPA's Marketing and Communications Specialist.