Briefly Noted

May 1, 2013, Department, by Danielle Taylor

Past NRPA President Christopher JarviThe park and recreation community has recently lost a longtime advocate with the passing of Christopher Jarvi, who served as NRPA’s president from 1997 to 1998 and on the Board of Directors from 1992 to 1999. He also served the City of Anaheim, California, for 22 years as director of community services and won numerous awards during his tenure both on the state and national level. These include the prestigious Cornelius Amory Pugsley Award from the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), given for lifetime public service in parks, recreation and conservation. Following his retirement from the City of Anaheim in 2003, Jarvi was appointed to be an associate director of the National Park Service (NPS) in Washington, D.C. During his six years with NPS, he was responsible for Partnerships and Visitor Experiences. He leaves an indelible legacy, particularly in parks and recreation in California but nationwide as well.

A New York City playground where the late musician Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys learned to ride a bike as a child has been renamed in his honor. In early May, city officials rechristened Brooklyn’s Palmetto Playground as Adam Yauch Park. Yauch’s parents and fellow Beastie Boy Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz attended the renaming ceremony. The rapper known as “MCA” died in May 2012 at the age of 47 after a nearly three-year battle with cancer. The gravelly-voiced Yauch helped make the Beastie Boys one of the seminal groups in hip-hop. The playground includes full and half basketball courts, a community garden, a greenhouse, a small fitness area, an open play space, drinking fountains and a dog run.

As the nation gears up for National Get Outdoors Day on June 9, Cintas Corporation is offering complimentary restroom cleanings for public parks nationwide. Nominations are currently being accepted through the end of June for parks to receive Cintas’ Sanis UltraClean services or Tile and Carpet Deep Cleaning services. Through the deep cleanings, park restrooms will be easier to maintain and keep clean throughout the busy summer season. The Cintas Sanis UltraClean service uses high-pressure steam and chemicals to remove buildup inaccessible by mops and brushes. Cintas professionals clean every urinal, sink and toilet with chemicals to break down soils and then rinse all surfaces with a fresh water rinse. For restrooms requiring a deeper clean, Cintas will use its Tile and Carpet Deep Cleaning services. To have a park considered for complimentary Cintas Deep Clean Service, please visit now through the end of June.

In the latest update from Detroit Parks and Recreation, Mayor Dave Bing announced in late April that he was able to raise enough funds from metro Detroit companies to avoid shutting down 51 city parks this year, which he had threatened to do after a deal for the state to lease Belle Isle collapsed last year. The Bing administration last year said it was counting on the Belle Isle deal — in which the state would lease the island and operate it as a state park — to save Detroit $6 million a year in costs for maintaining and operating the park. The deal fell apart amid opposition from some residents and city council members.

In New Jersey, volunteers are trying to revive the American Chestnut, a tree species that once dominated eastern forests but almost completely died out in the early 1900s due to blight. Today, consumers generally plant Chinese or Japanese species of chestnuts in their yards, but the American Chestnut Foundation is working with nurseries and parks to develop a hybrid that incorporates traits of the American chestnut with the disease resistance of the Chinese. American Chestnuts roots that survived the blight and can attempt to sprout again from stumps, but that effort of sprouting and dying back can go on for many years, and they may never grow larger than shrub size. Volunteers in New Jersey report planting 60 to 70 pure American Chestnuts in Monmouth County and another 200 at the N.J. Forestry nursery in Jackson.

Pennsylvania’s Gifford Pinchot State Park is using local goats to manage unwanted vegetation on its campground. Through a partnership with a local farmer, who brings the animals in each day and picks them up each afternoon, the park benefits from the services of four to five goats that eat the park's unwanted vegetation, including poison ivy, honeysuckle, oriental bittersweet and multi-flora rose. Using goats saves park staff time and resources used to manage invasive plants. The goats will be grazing at the park until late May or early June within metal fencing panels that can be moved to different park areas as needed. The fences have signs explaining the park's goat program and instructing the public to not disturb, play with or feed the animals.

In western Pennsylvania, Penn Township officials have announced plans to install a new light system they hope will spook geese into fleeing from the park. Initially, they plan to conduct a six-month trial using solar-powered lights sold by an Ohio company called Away With Geese. The nighttime units emit an amber light that is designed to disturb the geese's sleeping patterns in order to lead them to find a new home.

Park rangers in Stark County, Ohio, have begun wearing video cameras as part of their uniforms, which they use to record encounters with the public. After a dispute in which a park visitor accused a ranger of issuing a citation without cause, the park district issued small video cameras to each ranger, which records video and audio from the ranger’s perspective at the touch of a button. With the introduction of the cameras, the park board also approved a policy that requires rangers to activate the camera whenever their interaction with the public will potentially involve use of force or result in enforcement action, injury or damage to property.

On June 9, get outdoors as part of Green Gym Day, a day for everyone to get outside and play in their local green space. The idea is simple: Make a commitment to spend some time on June 9th in your park and just enjoy what the great green outdoors has to offer you physically, mentally and emotionally. People of all ages are encouraged to move their bodies outdoors for fun, exercise, family time and relaxation. Green Gym Day organizer Nancy Bruning, a long-time parks volunteer and founder of Nancercize, New York-based outdoor fitness company, is partnering with Kate Hill of FunMeFit, a  U.K. community network encouraging physical activity. They are using social media to promote the day and get more people outdoors, having fun and sharing their activities on the day with everyone else who takes part, via photos and video clips, which will be used to create a video montage of the day. Join the movement: Register on and share your ideas and images on Facebook.