Celebrate MLK Day of Service by making a big impact while also remaining safe and healthy! Check out the ideas and guidance below for giving back by volunteering in a park, supporting parks from home, or visiting parks and trails significant to the holiday.
Share through the link how you’ll join in on this important national day of service!
Volunteer in a Park
Whether solo or with your quarantine pod, picking up litter in your local park is a great way to get out and enjoy the benefits of greenspace while giving back to your community. Use the guidance below for a successful and rewarding outing!
Read the Volunteer Waiver
WAIVER OF LIABILITY / HOLD HARMLESS: In connection with my voluntary involvement in activities undertaken for, and with the participation and support of PARK PRIDE a non-profit charitable organization, and its volunteers, agents, officers, directors, employees, related landowners, and participating municipalities, cities, and county governmental authorities, and their employees, agents, subcontractors, and related parties (collectively, “PARK PRIDE PARTIES”) I hereby agree, for myself, my heirs, assigns, executors, and administrators to release and discharge any and all PARK PRIDE PARTIES and their officers and directors, employees, agents, and volunteers from all losses, claims, demands, and actions for injuries sustained to my person and/or property or caused by me as a result of my involvement in such activities, whether or not resulting from negligence, and I agree to indemnify, release and hold all PARK PRIDE PARTIES and their officers and directors, employees, agents and volunteers harmless from any loss, cause or action, claim, or suit arising therefrom. I hereby attest that I am at least eighteen (18) year of age, fully competent, and agree to be bound by signing below. If participant is under the age of eighteen, the undersigned parent / guardian consents to the minor’s participation in these activities and all the terms and conditions herein. I further agree my attendance and involvement in such activities is voluntary, that I am participating at my own risk, and that I have read the foregoing terms and conditions of this release. PHOTOGRAPHY RELEASE: By participating in the activities, participant irrevocably and perpetually grants PARK PRIDE PARTIES the right, but not obligation, to make, reproduce, print, broadcast, rebroadcast, publish (including online and/or via social media) and otherwise use photographs, videos, digital images, drawings, visual representations, videos or any other uses of participant’s likeness (collectively, “Materials”). This release shall be deemed to include any Materials participant voluntarily provides or otherwise makes available to PARK PRIDE PARTIES.
Safety First - Mask Up!
A cloth or paper mask covering both your nose and mouth should be worn at all times while picking up litter in parks (or other public spaces)!
Wear Gloves - A Necessary Layer of Protection!
Don’t touch litter with your bare hands! Protective gloves should be worn at all times when picking up litter. While latex gloves are adequate, heftier garden gloves provide added protection against broken glass, nails, and the like.
Grab a Grabber
Trash grabbers provide an added layer of safety while collecting litter, and they’re also life savers for your back! They can be purchased at most hardware stores.
Dispose of Litter Appropriately
The bagged litter you’ve collected can be put into the park’s trash cans. However, if the trash is already overflowing, we encourage you to go the extra mile and dispose of the collected trash at home. Thank you!
Share Your Impact!
We want to hear from you and see all of the great work that you’re doing in your community! Share a photo of your day of service on social media, and make sure to tag @parkpride or use #parkpride.
More importantly, REPORT your service hours to Park Pride. Reporting allows Park Pride to track time and locations of volunteer efforts throughout the year to make sure that we’re distributing our efforts equitably and that all parks are receiving the TLC they need! These stats are also shared with funders and will help secure dollars to further support parks! Please report your hours through the link below:
Like cheese? The first 50 individuals or quarantine pods to report their service hours to Park Pride by Monday, January 25 will receive a delicious gift box from Cabot Creamery… YUM!
Support Parks from Home
Give back to local parks without breaking a sweat!
Thank a Park Worker
Over the past several months, through shutdowns, stay-at-home orders, and missed family gatherings, metro Atlantans flocked to local parks and trails. You may have been among them, perhaps because you recognize that parks play a vital role in the health and wellness of our residents. The importance of this role has never been more apparent or more greatly appreciated.
Like healthcare providers, utility operators, truck drivers, grocery store cashiers, and many other front-line heroes, those who work in our parks and recreation centers risk their safety every day to keep vital services running. Park Pride appreciates the essential workers who have prepared and distributed meals to kids out of school, maintaining our parks, and going in to work so that Atlantans who are staying home have food on the table and safe places to connect with nature in their own neighborhoods.
This MLK Day, express your gratitude for front-line parks maintenance and recreation employees by sending a handwritten card or note.
If you love your local greenspaces and recreation facilities, click on the location of your park / neighborhood for details on sharing your heartfelt thank you with the people who work hard so that you can enjoy them.
Select Your Jurisdiction to Get Started
Comment on the Tree Ordinance
Protecting Atlanta’s mature tree canopy is vitally important to keeping our city livable in the face of hotter temperatures, more severe storms, and greater extremes between drought and flooding. Watch the short video below to learn more about all of the valuable “ecosystem services” that trees provide and the true cost of losing our canopy.
Park Pride supports a strengthened tree ordinance that does more to protect our existing trees. A Tree Protection Ordinance that is stronger than what is currently in place is necessary to ensure we meet the City of Atlanta’s stated goal of 50% tree canopy coverage and remain true to our reputation as “the city in the forest.”
The City of Atlanta’s Department of City Planning (DCP) recently shared a summary of proposed changes to the existing Tree Protection Ordinance, which can be viewed through the link below.
Though the COVID-19 health crisis has delayed the schedule, DCP plans to have a completed ordinance to City Council for consideration in Spring 2021. Discussions are in place for potential Council Work Sessions and future public engagement sessions.
In the meantime, you can support a stronger tree ordinance by reviewing the proposed changes, and contacting email@example.com and your Atlanta City Council representatives with any questions or comments. Let them know that a healthy tree canopy is important to you!
Join a Friends of the Park group
Friends of the Park (FoP) groups tie into the core values of Park Pride by creating the framework for an inclusive, collaborative, and systemic approach to transforming greenspaces. Joining (or forming) a Friends group is the most effective first step you could take to catalyze positive and long-lasting change in your neighborhood park. What’s more, you’ll build friendships and strengthen the bonds of your community along the way!
Learn more about Park Pride’s Friends of the Park Program through the link below, and reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Support Our Volunteer Program
Hosting park projects during a pandemic that are safe for volunteers and have a meaningful impact is no small feat!
Park Pride is working hard to ensure that parks across the city are receiving TLC and that Friends of the Park groups have access to the support they need to keep greenspaces clean and enjoyable for all.
But, the reality is that hosting effective workdays during a health crisis necessitates increased measures that protect the health and safety of volunteers, our highest priority. Those efforts, in turn, requires additional resources, staff time, and funds as compared to pre-COVID times.
Your gift to Park Pride today will support our Volunteer Program and make a lasting impact in parks across the city when it’s needed most!
Visit Parks and Trails with Significance to the Holiday
At the time of its development in 1919, Washington Park on Atlanta’s Westside was the first and only park in the city designated for African-Americans. When Martin Luther King, Jr. visited a park, Washington Park would have been the only public greenspace available to him, his family, and his friends.
Washington Park celebrated its centennial anniversary in 2019, marking 100 years of inviting community gatherings, providing a safe place for kids to play, and an providing an opportunity to enjoy access to nature.
Located on the northern end of the Atlanta BeltLine Westside Trail, visitors to Washington Park can enjoy the natatorium, playing tennis, a playground, and pavilions and grills for picnics.
Learn more about this historic greenspace from the Conservancy at Historic Washington Park.
Better yet, plan a visit!
Jennie Drake Park
Jennie Drake Park is a 4-acre natural, passive greenspace nestled within the historic and iconic African-American neighborhood of Collier Heights in Northwest Atlanta. Collier Heights, home to such prominent Black families such as the Kings, Hollowells, and Abernathys, was also home to Atlanta native Jennie Drake, who fought against the development of the park which now bares her name.
Read more about the rich history of Collier Heights from Atlanta Magazine and enjoy a stroll through Jennie Drake Park’s meandering and peaceful pathways.
Oakland Cemetery is another City of Atlanta park with a history deeply rooted to the African-American community.
From the Historic Oakland Foundation’s blog, beginning in 1852 and through the late 1860s, African Americans in Atlanta were buried in a segregated section of the cemetery. Most, though not all, of the individuals buried in this northeast corner of the cemetery were enslaved, and it came to be known as Slave Square. Panels on site hold the names of the men, women, and children who were buried here.
Learn more about the history of Slave Square in advance of your visit to Oakland Cemetery.
Art on the Eastside BeltLine Trail
Along the BeltLine’s Eastside Trail, a beautiful photography project by visual storyteller and educator,
These portraits are frozen moments in history that portray Black soldiers as caring and patriotic Americans. This project puts human faces on historical events and shows the medical needs of Americans. Using black and white photography paired with strong emotions and intense eyes, this work seeks to show integrity, courage, loyalty, patriotism, wisdom, empathy, and humility.
Additional Volunteer Resources
- COVID-19 Guidelines for Visiting Parks & Recreation Facilities (CDC)
- Litter Cleanup in a COVID-19 Environment (Keep America Beautiful)
- Managing Used PPE (Keep America Beautiful)
- The 7 Principles of Leave No Trace (LNT Center for Outdoor Ethics)