Angela is studying environmental sciences in a 4+1 Bachelor’s/Master’s program at Emory University. We are so excited to have her with us this summer working with Friends of the Park groups to connect them to the resources they need to improve their parks as the Community Building Intern.
“I love learning about the history, challenges, opportunities and wonders of parks …” Angela Jiang
When she’s not meeting with community members, she enjoys exploring Atlanta’s “hidden” greenspaces and giving friends and loved ones tours.
Learn more about Angela through our short interview below.
Why are parks important?
I believe in the power of parks to be spaces of inclusion and equity; they are meant to be free and open to every citizen in our city. Due to the nature of parks, they are also the location for many important “firsts” for nearby residents – from that first swim lesson to kick-off a healthy passion for being on a swim team, to being the first wildlife preserve in a neighborhood, unlocking a world of educational opportunities. Parks are the spaces in which individuals from all walks of life can experience these “firsts” together.
Why is it important for communities to have a voice in their parks?
Ayanna (Director of Community Building) always emphasizes that communities are the experts when it come to their parks. I couldn’t agree more wholeheartedly. If cities plan parks to be public spaces for all citizens, then community members must be at the forefront of influencing and making decisions for these parks themselves. Communities are powerful because they can be dynamic, agile, and proactive when it comes to adapting to the changing times. They know the challenges and needs of the area best.
What are you looking forward to the most about your position?
I look forward to the continued experiences with the park leaders with whom I engage. I have been increasingly seeing them as mentors. They’re inspiring me to pursue a future of working with Atlanta environmental nonprofits!
What’s your favorite local park and why?
I love Maddox Park. I like to describe it as the park with a giant, classic pavilion on a big hill overlooking 51-acres of lush groves and park facilities. It is easy to fall in love with the surrounding community; when you become a frequenter of the park, you automatically join a fiercely passionate, thrillingly proactive coalition that constantly works to bring the dreams and immense potential of the park to reality.
What’s your favorite park activity?
I love scooting around on an adult-sized scooter (yes, those exist) with a glee that begs to question my twenty years of age. I also love poking around in pockets of parks to find animals and native plants. Most of all, I love learning the history, challenges, opportunities and wonders of parks so that I can give my friends and loved ones tours that will make them fall in love as well.