Chanté Lively: Excited about the Power of Parks!

Say hello to Chanté Lively, Park Pride’s Community Building Intern for Fall 2020!

Chanté is a senior marine biology major with minors in Spanish and Global Engagement at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL. But this semester, she’s doing her classes virtually due to COVID-19. When Chanté discovered the Park Pride internship and its focus on community engagement and equity, she found it so compelling that she had to apply!

We took some time to talk to Chanté about herself and what makes parks so great!

Why are parks important?

The purpose of a park is to the serve the community where it is located. The importance of parks relates to its relationship to the community as a meeting spot, exercise location, and easy connection to nature, especially if the park is free for all. It can be all that and more for the community, leading to an abundance of advantages.

Park Pride’s mission is “to engage communities to activate the power of parks.” What does the “power of parks” mean to you?

The power of parks relates to the power of creativity and imagination. Park Pride helps communities to envision the skies on what the parks can look like and how they can help the community grow.

What do you most enjoy about working with Park Pride so far?

There are two main things I enjoy from being the Community Building Intern. I have been able to meet the wonderful, Park Pride team and learn/ see how hard they work. I wish to one day do nonprofit work, so I love that I can get first-hand experience on what that would look like. In addition, I am enjoying helping to make the Small Change Grant easier to use for the Friends of the Parks groups.

Why is it important for communities to have a voice in their parks?

The simplest reason is that the parks are there for the community. Having a voice in the park and any decision making for the park helps to make sure that the community’s best interests are upheld, and they can use the park to its full potential.

How have parks / nature helped you cope during the COVID-19 pandemic?

As Covid-19 has made gathering with friends indoors less and less ideal, visiting parks and nature has really helped me to see those important people in my life and get out of my house. Ever since the pandemic started, different friend groups and I have gone to the parks in DeKalb County to hang-out, do arts and crafts, have picnics, or just enjoy nature. If we did not have so many parks in our area, I do not know what we would have done for safe in-person activities. I am fond of staying home/ indoors, but it was never for long periods of time like this; having all this nature around to explore has helped me stay mentally healthy.

What is your favorite park activity?
I like to walk the trails and see what different things I can notice every new time I visit.
What is your favorite local park
My favorite park is Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve. In 2017, I graduated from Arabia Mountain High School, which is located on part of the preserve. Over the years, I have tons of fond memories visiting the trials there and climbing the mountain with my friends and family, even after I have graduated.




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