Originally posted on SaportaReport.
By Hannah E. Jones, Park Pride’s Marketing & Communications Manager
Fall is in full effect in Atlanta — with the leaves changing and boasting their multi-colored glory! Not only is this a great time to get outside, but also a prime opportunity to show up for your local parks. Over at Park Pride, we’ve been working with local communities to make our parks the best they can be, and we want you to get involved!
If you’re looking to raise your Park IQ, our new program, Second Friday Walk in the Park, is for you. Through this monthly event, we introduce residents to hidden gems throughout the Atlanta area. Great parks are all around us, so why not take advantage of living in the City in the Forest?
Our first installment of Second Friday Walk in the Park was held on November 10 at the Kirkwood Urban Forest Preserve. We had nearly 50 folks join us (with about half living in Kirkwood) to learn more about what makes the Preserve special. We were hosted by the local Friends of the Park (FoP) group, and they walked us through the ins and outs of the Preserve, including its history, ongoing projects and its native plants and wildlife.
Our next Second Friday Walk in the Park will be held on December 8 at 9 a.m. at Frazier-Rowe Park in DeKalb County. The nine-acre park boasts walking trails, a pollinator garden, a playground, exercise areas and more. It’s also a certified Wildlife Sanctuary, with a variety of plants native to Georgia and the Southeast that help the local birds and bees flourish. Join us next month to learn more about this park that’s hiding in plain sight!
“’Walk in the Park’ is a chance for local Friends of the Park members to showcase their park, lead a tour, and highlight what makes their greenspaces so unique. It’s also a way for people across metro Atlanta to learn about lesser-known parks while increasing their Park IQ,” said Eli Dickerson, Director of Education. “The program is free, the commitment is small (one-hour walk), and the vibe is positive! We believe guests will leave inspired to come back to these spaces in their own time and to also discover new spaces close to home.”
In addition to helping folks discover local hidden gems, we’re also making an increased effort to ensure our local parks are accessible and inclusive for all who visit. To that end, Park Pride recently connected six FoP groups with local landscape architect volunteers for a no-cost inclusive design opportunity. Over the course of three months, they created plans for their neighborhood parks that better reflect the needs and desires of their communities, with an emphasis on inclusivity. The designs were presented at an Inclusive Park Design Workshop on November 1, and the plans included accessible walking trails, updated playground equipment, waterplay and spaces for community gatherings.
We were also joined by internationally recognized play expert Meghan Talarowski of Studio Ludo, who discussed the importance of inclusive design and shared some best practices. FoP groups can now use these plans and apply through Park Pride’s Grantmaking Program to make their neighborhood parks more accessible.
“This workshop is an opportunity for Friends of the Park groups to think critically about the built environment and how their park could serve more members of our communities,” Director of Park Visioning Andrew White said. “The designs provided by the volunteer landscape architects can help jumpstart fundraising so that these ideas can become reality.”
If you’re looking for another opportunity to learn more about the power of our local parks, join us on Monday, March 25 for our 2024 Parks & Greenspace Conference hosted at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Established in 2001, this is now the largest parks conference in the Southeast, showcasing thought leaders from Atlanta and across the country. The Conference focuses on best practices for companies and individuals who are united by a common desire to improve parks and strengthen communities. Stay tuned for updates on our program and ticket sales.
Park Pride’s programs and events are great ways to appreciate and get involved in Atlanta’s many wonderful greenspaces. If these don’t pique your interest, please head to a local park to enjoy the beautiful fall leaves and fresh air!