October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 41

Leading expert Dr. Temple Grandin advised
incorporating interesting things to
see, but ensuring there are " no surprises "
and building in places to decompress.
nature center challenging. Penman
shared this conversation with her
friend Susan Herrnstein, who also
has a grandson with autism. Both
grandsons shared a similar autism
experience, and both were soothed
when visiting Letchworth
State
Park. The women were struck
with a thought - how could they
encourage those with autism and
their families to come to Letchworth
State Park? What could a
fully inclusive, autism-friendly nature
experience at a park look like?
Park managers and elected officials
get great ideas for parks all the
time. However, Art Briley, regional
director of New York State Parks -
Genesee Region, and Doug Kelly,
park manager for Letchworth State
Park, point out that there are only
so many resources to support these
ideas. " We love getting great ideas,
but there is the question of cost,
maintenance and programming, "
Briley says.
Penman and Herrnstein continued
talking, and brought a
third friend, Gail Serventi, into
the conversation. The three women
discussed how a fundraiser
for the Humphrey Nature Center
at Letchworth State Park had
been mostly private. Could private
fundraising be how the ANT
could become a reality?
Penman, Herrnstein and Serventi
quickly became known as the
ANT aunts, and the success of the
trail is attributed to their tenacity
and enthusiasm. A large part of
their success was asking for help
where and when it was needed.
" It truly was a grassroots organization,
because the more we talked
about it with people we thought
could help us, the more partners we
found, " says Penman. " We all kept
asking, 'What if?' "
One such partner was leading expert
Dr. Temple Grandin (temple
grandin.com), who advised hiring
staff with expertise in both autism
and outdoor environments; incorporating
interesting things to see, but
ensuring there are " no surprises " ;
and building in places to decompress
in case overstimulation occurs.
In addition, the aunts contacted
the Open Space Institute (OSI)
(openspaceinstitute.org), an organization
that works to protect and
preserve the natural habitats and
wildlife, which became the 501(c)
(3) sponsor. Now, tax deductible
donations could be gathered.
By August 2016, a concrete vision
and pathway forward was determined,
and New York State Parks
gave the go ahead to the aunts, provided
they understood no funding
would come from New York State
for this project - the agency would
only provide the land.
The aunts began a soft fundraiser
with a goal of raising $2 million.
If they could raise this amount, it
would prove to all involved that
there was a need for such a trail.
By December 2019, the $2 million
was raised,
and
on
12, 2019, New York State Parks
officially greenlit
the
Natural Heritage Trust
project.
(NHT)
(naturalheritagetrust.org), with its
mission to receive and administer
gifts, grants and contributions to
further public programs for parks
in the state of New York, became
the fiscal sponsor for the ANT.
Now that the project could be
made public, more ideas for fundraisers
were generated. Of course,
the coronavirus (COVID-19)
pandemic threatened to slow the
project down, but in the spirit of
inclusivity and accommodation, it
didn't. A virtual auction was designed,
and many of the auction
items
reflected sensory-friendly
PARK S ANDRECRE AT ION . OR G | O CTOBER 2 0 2 1
| Parks & Recreation
41
December
PHOTO COURTESY OF JOHN KUCKO
http://www.templegrandin.com http://www.templegrandin.com http://www.naturalheritagetrust.org http://www.openspaceinstitute.org

October 2021 - Parks & Recreation

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

October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Intro
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover1
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover2
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 1
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 2
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 3
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 4
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 5
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 6
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 7
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 8
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 9
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 10
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 11
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 12
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 13
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 14
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 15
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 16
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 17
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 18
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 19
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 20
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 21
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 22
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 23
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 24
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 25
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 26
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 27
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 28
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 29
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 30
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 31
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 32
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 33
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 34
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 35
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 36
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 37
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 38
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 39
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 40
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 41
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 42
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 43
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 44
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 45
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 46
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 47
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 48
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 49
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 50
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 51
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 52
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 53
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 54
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 55
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 56
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover3
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover4
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