April 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 6

P E R S P E C T I V E S A M E S S A G E F R O M N R P A' S L E A D E R S

Conservation, All of Our Duty
As in prior columns, I often borrow inspiration from
great thinkers - predecessors who have
blazed paths and
made an impact in
our communities.
I can't think of a
more profound, yet
simple, quote on the
topic of the environment better than the
words of American
essayist
Wendell
Berry: " The Earth is
what we all have in
common. "
The soil we till and
harvest; the rivers,
lakes and seas we commonly use; and the air we all
breathe are what bind us together.
The mission of our organization is rooted in enhancing the quality of life for all people. Our great parks
bring communities and neighborhoods together, as we
serve as the hubs for health and well-being for millions
across America. In addition to fostering wellness and
health on the community level, our country's parks
play a vital part in maintaining thriving ecosystems.
Parks across the country support the conservation, protection and stewardship of all our natural resources.
As a park professional committed to access and equity of resources for every resident, I believe strongly
that nature - clean, fresh and open spaces in our parks
- helps build better citizens, better families, better students and, on the whole, a better community.
In Miami, the Park Conservation Corps, a group of
dedicated volunteers and park patrons, have made preservation of natural areas a top priority in their community. This group of Miami-Dade park champions participate in volunteer projects that enhance the heritage
of parks and natural areas. The group also learns best
practices in landscaping, tree planting, master gardening and coastal stewardship, among other key conservation efforts.

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Parks & Recreation

| A P R I L 2 02 1 | PA R K S A N D R E C R E AT I O N .O R G

In Chicago, we boast 1,950 acres of natural area.
Now, I realize that nearly 2,000 acres may not sound
like much to some park systems. But when you consider that only 20 years ago we counted merely 100 acres
of natural area, I think we can all agree that Chicago is
moving in the right direction.
Still, we live by the depth and variety of our program
offerings. Therefore, in addition to adding acreage, we
are helping to reconnect children with nature in our
city. Our Nature Play Spaces provide valuable outdoor
space for kids to have positive, hands-on experiences in
nature. Each space is a collaborative community effort,
unique to the ecology of the park site and the needs of
each neighborhood.
The global pandemic has tested how we offer park
programs, and even altered how we interact with each
other. Yet, the pandemic has provided the opportunity
to refocus on other important elements and work of
parks - such as nature and conservation. There are
hundreds more organizations and patrons, like the
Conservation Corps, committed to the care and improvement of our natural resources. And, there are
thousands of spaces across America that could be reimagined as potential hubs for connecting with nature,
as we've done with Nature Play Spaces.
This challenging moment in history gives us a chance
to rethink our communal and personal relationships
with nature. It begs us to re-engage with our responsibilities as park professionals - our responsibility to not
only serve our patrons, but also the environment.
NRPA's organizational mission calls for us to serve
as catalysts of positive change for equity, climatereadiness and overall well-being. Let's embrace that call
and serve as protectors of our greatest shared asset.

MICHAEL P. KELLY
Chair, NRPA Board of Directors



April 2021 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of April 2021 - Parks & Recreation

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April 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover3
April 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover4
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com