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5 Simple Ways To Help Your Local Parks

5 Simple Ways To Help Your Local Parks

Did you know that July is National Park and Recreation Month in the United States? The nonprofit National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) created the day in 1985 to further its mission of advancing public parks and recreation opportunities.

For me, it is one of those occasions where I really have come full circle. I grew up across the street from a local park and wound up living across from that same park. I even worked for the department that supported it for a number of years, and met my husband while working in park services there.

Throughout my life, public parks have always been there. I am ashamed to say that I have taken for granted that they will always be there. And, I don’t think that I am alone in this thinking. But, like anything worth keeping, we should all take time to appreciate and support our public park and recreation facilities.

The NRPA points out the many benefits of parks and recreation including preserving wildlife and plant habitats, conserving natural resources, allowing both children and adults to get healthy and connect to the outdoors in addition to supporting local economies, creating jobs, and raising property values. And, they provide safe and constructive activities for youth and decrease crime.

They also stress that parks are vital to the recreational habits of Americans, which are key elements of health and wellness. That’s why this year’s theme of “Rock Your Park” is focused on raising awareness of this and getting people interested in visiting, supporting, and preserving this critical resource.

Here are the NRPA’s suggestions for doing this and for celebrating National Park and Recreation Month:

1. Take the “Five in July Park Pledge.” There are five weekends in July 2011. Create a healthy weekend habit by getting out to a park, trail, playground, swimming pool, natural area, or other public space every weekend and make your personal commitment to get outdoors by signing the Pledge.

2. Enter the “Rock Your Park” Flash Mob Contest via You Tube. All you have to do is gather a group and go to any local park or recreation facility and “show the power of parks” in Flash Mob form through music, dance, exercise, hiking, chanting, aerobics, or biking. The only catch is that the official 2011 Rock your Park poster has to be visible for at least 5 seconds.

3. Get moving outside and achieve the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA). The NRPA is a President’s Challenge Advocate and is promoting the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award program in support of the “Let’s Move” initiative. For those looking to extend their physical activity commitment, the PALA can be earned by taking part in 60 minutes of physical activity for kids (30 minutes for adults), five days a week for six weeks.

4. In 2010, the NRPA established America’s Backyard to “encourage citizens to support and protect the nation’s parks and recreation areas and draw attention to the powerful role that parks and recreation play in the lives of every individual.” Make a donation to America’s Backyard to support their efforts to protect public parks and recreation across the country.

5. Volunteer at a local park or recreation facility. There are a wide variety of volunteer opportunities available ranging from youth sports coaching to helping clean up and restore natural habitats. Contact your local agency to find out how to get involved.

Read more: Community, Community Service, Conscious Consumer, Do Good, Environment, Fitness, Health, Holidays, Life, Make a Difference, Nature, Other Holidays, Outdoor Activities, , ,

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Judi Gerber

Judi Gerber is a University of California Master Gardener with a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. She writes about sustainable farming, local foods, and organic gardening for multiple magazines. Her book Farming in Torrance and the South Bay was released in September 2008.


+ add your own
7:35PM PDT on Oct 21, 2011

i just show up at natural areas on my own and start picking up trash (sorting out the recyclables of course). it's something easy for anyone to do on their own schedule.

6:53PM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

I've volunteered in a park creek cleanup. :)

9:29AM PDT on Aug 28, 2011

Not always as easy as it sounds, my local authorities do not much care for volunteers. I have gone in for "guerrilla gardening" - planting daffodils, bluebells, chrocuses and primroses in local parks and woodland by dead of night. I live in England, so make sure you chose native species.

9:09AM PDT on Aug 5, 2011

Thank you.

12:52PM PDT on Jul 30, 2011

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1:49AM PDT on Jul 27, 2011

thanks for sharing

2:50AM PDT on Jul 21, 2011

These are not just 5 tips these are most beneficent

3:25AM PDT on Jul 14, 2011

Cool. I try to volunteer as much as possible.

4:15AM PDT on Jul 7, 2011

I think everyone should put their one step ahead. It is very necessary if you want to put your park , socity clean.

9:45PM PDT on Jul 6, 2011


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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