Emma Nortje: Capturing the Power of Parks


Meet Emma Nortje, this summer’s Communications and Development intern! She was born in South Africa, raised in Dunwoody, GA, and recently graduated from Georgia College and State University with a B.A. in Mass Communication. She also minored in Photography and Psychology and has worked on a few short film sets with a GCSU club called Bobcat Media Productions. 

Once we are given parks, we are given spaces to build an appreciation for natural habitats that need our help to be preserved and strengthened. ~ Emma Nortje

When Emma isn’t making videos or scheduling Facebook posts, she likes to spend time with her friends and family talking and catching up. Emma also likes to hike and backpack, listen to music or Radiolab, and explore local events that are happening around Atlanta. Her favorite park activity is walking with friends and family and talking; but she also won’t pass up an opportunity to bring some food over to a park for a picnic!

Learn more about Emma through our short interview below.

Why are parks important?

I think parks are important because they show us how important it is to treasure and preserve nature. We may not live within walking distance of a national park, but local parks are just as important to us in giving us spaces to soak up the peace and beauty that can be found in our natural environment.

Park Pride’s mission is “to engage communities to activate the power of parks.” In what ways are parks powerful?

Parks are powerful because they take us out of our urban bubbles and put us back into the natural environment that exists all over the planet. Once we are given parks, we are given spaces to build an appreciation for natural habitats that need our help to be preserved and strengthened. Plus, they just give us space to chill and relax which is important for mental health. 

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

Parks are for the community and therefore should be built based on what the community wants. If a park reflects what a community wants, then it will be well used and loved which makes for happy people and well-maintained parks!  

What part of your position with Park Pride are you enjoying the most?

My favorite part of my internship is going out into the community to meet the Friends of the Park members and volunteers who care for parks. Not only is it great to get outside, but it is nice to see people engaged in their parks to make them something that they and their community will love and appreciate. I feel like I’ve gotten the chance to witness (and capture through my role at Park Pride) how happy parks make people, which to me shows the true power of parks. 

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