NRPA collaborated with The Walt Disney Company, including Disney Citizenship, Disney|ABC Television Group and ESPN, during Earth Month to expand the Meet Me at the Park initiative by providing 16 communities with resources to improve local parks through projects that connect kids to nature, inspire kids and families to live healthier lifestyles, and increase kids’ access to sports.
Throughout April 2016 the public was invited to nominate their favorite community park anywhere across the United States to be entered into a random drawing for $20,000, as well as, vote on park improvement projects in 15 designated communities to help determine which project also received $20,000. Check out the winners below and see the total collective impact that was made!
- 206,497 total people impacted by Meet Me at the Park projects
- 27,532 people connected with nature
- 7,039 people have improved access to healthy food
- 193,440 people have improved access to physical activity
- 44,640 people have improved access to sports
- 533 volunteers helped bring these projects to life
The City of Fresno PARCS held their Life and Environmental Science program at Highway City Science Center for three under-served communities. Participants were exposed to water safety, survival skills and overnight camping.
California: Los Angeles
The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks improved baseball fields at Toberman Recreation Center, making the ease and quality of play better for the youth participants and observers.
California: San Francisco
San Francisco Recreation and Park Department placed large raised garden beds and installed a new garden tool shed at Potrero del Sol Community Garden, which allows more community members to have the opportunity to grow their own garden.
The City of Hartford put funding towards the Hartford Youth Rowing on the Connecticut River program which gave the opportunity for youth and their families, who normally wouldn’t be able to afford the program, to engage in the sports of rowing and canoeing.
Florida: Brevard County
Brevard County Parks and Recreation created a Nature Explore Classroom at Riverwalk a Family Park which allows more access to activities outside of the Riverwalk Nature Center’s operating hours.
Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces constructed a fence around Ojus Park Community Center giving those who use the center a safe place to play and interact outdoors by blocking off access to a main road.
Engelwood Neighborhood Center received updates to its garden. The City of Orlando added green houses, storage sheds, irrigation, raised garden beds, benches and a shade structure allowing more people to connect with nature and live healthier.
The Chicago Park District added two Prairie Mazes at Garfield Park Conservatory. These garden mazes allow children to use their imaginations and develop problem-solving skills as they work their way through the mazes.
New York: New York
New York City Parks updated Windmill Community Garden. The community garden received new raised garden beds, healthy soil, seating and a rainwater harvesting structure so more members of the community can get involved in growing their own plants and produce.
North Carolina: Charlotte
Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation brought the outdoors in at the Wallace Pruitt Recreation Center, Hickory Grove Recreation Center and Berewick Recreation Center. Youth connected to nature through discovery sand and water tables, science tables and a hydroponics lab which allowed them to sprout plants indoors and then plant outdoors.
North Carolina: Durham
The City of Durham Parks and Recreation Departments transformed an underutilized outdoor roller skating rink at Hillside Park into an outdoor futsal court and added some spectator seating, making the area accessible for all.
Philadelphia Parks and Recreation added some greenery and shade to the “cement park” at Northern Liberties Recreation Center by adding a living wall made up of plants and flowers which allows program participants and community members to beat the heat and enjoy the outdoors.
The City of Austin Parks and Recreation expanded their rock climbing programs by adding a new climbing wall at the Austin Nature and Science Center.
Through a partnership between the Houston Parks and Recreation Department and the Furr High School Green Ambassadors program a community garden was created at Herman Brown Park to provide the neighborhood with access to fresh produce and volunteer opportunities.
Seattle Parks and Recreation brought ten different elementary school third grade classes to Camp Long for a field trip of rock climbing, hiking and a service-learning project.