The Magic of Local Parks and Recreation

By Jessica Culverhouse | Posted on March 31, 2015

Magic happens every day at local parks. A child’s first soccer goal, a grandmother picking the summer’s first tomato from the community garden, a family discovering a nest full of eggs hatching on their nature walk.

This Earth Month, NRPA is thrilled to collaborate with The Walt Disney Company, including Disney Citizenship, Disney|ABC Television Group and ESPN on an expansion of our Parks Build Community initiative to demonstrate the role of local parks and recreation in helping families live healthier, connecting kids and nature, and increasing access to sports. Together we will celebrate the power of parks to improve people’s lives – and bring a little magic to local parks across the country.

Starting this week, keep an eye out for a video spot airing on Disney|ABC Television Group channels – like the Disney Channel, ABC, and ABC Family – about the many ways people love and use their local parks. Viewers will be invited to learn more at

There, people across the country can get involved in Parks Build Community. We’re inviting everyone to tell us their favorite park, which will be entered for a chance to win $20,000 this spring. We encourage park and recreation agencies across the U.S. to rally their communities on social media to nominate a local park for this prize.


Blog-Miami-Oak-Grove-Soccer-Fields-Enhancement-Earth-Month-Parks-Build-CommunityPark supporters can also help select projects in 15 communities to be awarded $20,000 each to connect kids with nature, help families live healthier, and increase access to sports. These projects include everything from expanding a community garden in Seattle to constructing a treehouse in Austin to improving soccer fields in Miami. The project from each city with the most votes at the end of April will be awarded funding and completed this summer – 15 projects in all – with the help of employee volunteers from Disney, ABC, and ESPN.

This is a big moment for local parks and recreation. Increasingly, local parks are being recognized on a national scale for the value that they bring to their communities, helping people live better every day. By providing kids a safe place to play and learn sports, helping spark a lifelong love of nature and the outdoors, and creating opportunities for healthy activity close to home, local parks and recreation are a critical asset to communities everywhere.

This month, join us and our friends at Disney, ABC, and ESPN to celebrate the role of parks and recreation and bring a little magic to 16 communities with Parks Build Community. 

Jessica Culverhouse is NRPA's Senior Manager of Fundraising. She is a former teacher and environmental educator, mom and volunteer Master Naturalist.