Park Pride’s Roundtable Series brings together experts and thought leaders—both local and national—to provide context and insight into the current parks and greenspace landscape, and highlight actions that attendees can take to get involved.
Whether you’re a parks and recreation professional, government representative, landscape architect, student, or community member, Park Pride’s Roundtables are free and open to the public thanks to the generous support of our Corporate Champion sponsors.
October 2020: Outdoor Play in Times of Crisis
Imagine you’re a child living through the COVID-19 pandemic in a home without a backyard in a neighborhood without a park? Where could you go outside to play and enjoy the fresh air that’s safe? The lack of a neighborhood park is a reality for far too many Atlantans; approximately 28% according to the most recent Parkscore Ranking.
Theresa Casey, an internationally recognized expert on play, has spent years studying the experience of children in crisis situations (like that which we face today) and the vital role of outdoor play for healthy coping, learning, and childhood development.
Live from Edinburgh, Scotland, Theresa shared her findings about the basic need to play, the mental and physiological benefits of play, and why outdoor play is essential for children.
Theresa is the author of a brief, easy to read publication directed to “parents and careers” with practical advice on play in the time of COVID. The publication, entitled Play in Crisis, has been translated into multiple languages and is available for download from the International Play Association.
June 2020: OUTdoors. INclusive. A Vision of Nature for All
As Atlanta adjusted to the reality of COVID-19, the importance of access to nature became even more apparent. With the city shut down, it was no surprise that more and more people turned to neighborhood parks to engage with nature and relieve stress.
Not all Atlantans have been reaping the health benefits of nature during this difficult time, however. Many communities – and particularly communities of color – do not have access to nature near their homes. The global health pandemic and corresponding shutdown have highlighted disparities in access to nature like never before, and amplified the urgent need for action.
This past year, through the generous support of the Turner Foundation, Park Pride and our partner nonprofits worked to advance a city-wide shift in attitudes and policies about equitable access to parks and nature, and are moving forward with several initiatives designed to form meaningful connections between people from all walks of life with nature.
At this Roundtable, Park Pride, The Nature Conservancy, The Trust for Public Land, and the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance discussed innovative ways groups are using parks to drive positive health, economic and social outcomes. From a visionary nature park on the south side of Atlanta to a program helping children have foundational experiences in nature, learn how advancing a vision of Nature for All has the potential to revolutionize environmental advocacy in Atlanta.