At Park Pride’s 18th Annual Parks and Greenspace Conference on March 25, 2019, six Inspiration Award winners were recognized for their commitment to nurturing and strengthening the bonds between parks and communities. This year, these leaders were recognized:
JyQuan Almond – Urban Food Forest at Browns Mill
JyQuan is a confident and charismatic leader at the Urban Food Forest at Browns Mill. He’s a role model for the young and old… though he’s just 12 years old himself! Since day one when the Food Forest was a blighted, vacant property in Southeast Atlanta, JyQuan jumped into the community visioning process to help guide the final design. Since then, he has continued to show up, helping to build trails and plant food producing trees and crops. He participates in “grow-and learns,” planning sessions and festivals, and serves as an ambassador and Food Forest tour guide.
Nancy Boyd – Freedom Park Conservancy
Nancy understands the importance of art in reflecting culture and inspiring discussion. She also knows that as a gathering space, parks invite visitors of all backgrounds. Bringing parks and arts together is a powerful mechanism for a shared experience of storytelling that unites a community. Thanks to Nancy’s dedication to the Freedom Park Conservancy and partnership with the City of Atlanta, Freedom Park will receive three new works of art in late 2019. These pieces will elevate the level of art expected in public space and the experience of Freedom Park for all.
Jessie Hayden – Briarlake Forest Park
In 2014, Jessie Hayden played a key role to protect a forest in DeKalb County from development. Today, that property is known as Briarlake Forest Park, an ecologically rich and cherished natural area. Jessie helped craft the park plan, which incorporated elements for both human and wildlife visitors to enjoy: a free play space for kids, an outdoor classroom, artistic tables and benches that blend with the environment, an ADA path around the meadow, gardens that provide native plant habitat for birds and bees, and more.
Bill Lide – Kittredge Park
As a board member and volunteer coordinator of the Friends group, Bill has been central to the success of Kittredge Park. Leading by example, he created a culture of giving within his community that has helped to fund park improvements and complete volunteer projects. Bill has recruited over 5,000 volunteers to remove invasive plant species and plant natives, create and mulch trails, and install benches, picnic tables, and a playground. Cumulatively, his efforts have made the park a safe place for members of the community to relax and enjoy nature.
Billie Walker – Mattie Freeland Park
Billie Walker believes that a park’s purpose is to serve as an inclusive community space with the power to anchor and revitalize neighborhoods. For years, she has shared her passion for community engagement and making English Avenue parks welcoming spaces for all ages and abilities. Billie is an enthusiastic cheerleader for all the greenspaces and people in her community, encouraging neighbors to attend park events and volunteer. Her compassion is contagious, as she inspires neighbors to make connections and to love and care for each other.
Lewis Woodson – NPU-P Parks
As the Committee Chairman of NPUP’s Parks and Recreation Committee, Lewis has been on the forefront of efforts to improve parks, recreation amenities, and community health for years! His efforts span multiple greenspaces, including Melvin Drive Park, Deerwood Park, Tuscan Park, and Princeton Lake Walking Trail. Fueled by his vision for parks that address the needs of residents of all ages, he is a neighborhood champion that has engaged both community and civic leaders to strengthen the connection between people and greenspace.
Congratulations award winners, and thank you for all you do for parks, greenspace, and our community!