Saturday, April 20, from 9 am to 12 pm is Parks Appreciation Day. Anybody in the community can volunteer to trim limbs, groom, grounds, comb beaches, plant more flowers, and trees, and do any other work activities that will include giving back to the earth. Individuals, families, friends, schools, businesses, living groups, grandparents, non-profits, mission groups, youth clubs, senior centers, block parties, church groups, students, book clubs, etc. can pick a park to volunteer at by visiting: ParksAppreciationDay.net.
Richard Madison, community outreach and special projects coordinator with Metro Parks, commented: “We try to offer a wide variety of sites for people, no matter where you live, there is somewhere close for you to participate in.”
Richard explained in more detail the purpose of Parks Appreciation Day, “It’s a celebration of Earth Day and what’s actually become earth month. We take this opportunity to get parks and open spaces that we will be enjoying all through the summer to get all spruced up and extra sharp so that it can look good as the weather starts to turn. As spring is springing and flowers are in bloom, people are getting outside more and visiting these parks and open spaces and give them an opportunity to get the parks and open spaces that extra touch after the winter season.
“It’s grown as far as participating agencies and cities. We started out with just a couple different agencies as new park departments and word has gotten out more and more places are having parks appreciation day within their own organizations.
“We encourage people come to out: families, friends, church and work groups, etc. there is something to do for everyone from picking up litter to cutting blackberry bushes.
“It’s really a good time to expose young ones to community service and what it’s like to give back to your community. It helps in the future for young ones to get ownership that they volunteered there and usually they take better care of the parks in the long run.”
Richard commented on his feelings of Parks Appreciation Day, “I think park appreciation day is an excellent opportunity to be engaged in your community, celebrate Earth Day, and have fun getting dirty.” Richard feels the sense of community and teamwork is the best thing about Park Appreciation Day, “You get that by working on projects together and the sense of accomplishment after tasks are completed as well as that sense of pride, ownership, and sustainability for our parks and open spaces.”
Richard discussed what many people may not know about Parks Appreciation Day, “Every site or agency has a little different variation for celebrating after volunteering, some provide barbecues and afterward we do give out 2 for 1 zoo passes to volunteers, which graciously has been given by the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium through Metro Parks.
We encourage people to be there at 9 am and then work as long as they feel comfortable and able to. If can’t people can’t make it at 9 am, they can still come and we’ll make it work.”
Richard stated: “One thing that I find pretty cool is that this is the 12th year we’ve done this and I’ve seen volunteers come back year after year and see families grow in size. They have been bringing their little ones and those little ones are now teens. That tradition is built by participating in this event and that’s really neat to see.”
Richard recommends all ages to volunteer at the event, “Everybody from kids to grandpas to come out and anyone that’s involved in the community or wants to be involved come out and show your support. Get to know a park you don’t know and receive a greater appreciation for parks and open spaces. Come out; it’s a fun event working side by side with people in the community. You will get the good sense of accomplishment and give back to the earth.”
For more information about the event, please visit: ParksAppreciationDay.net, call Richard at: 253 202-5978, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. “Although Park appreciation day is a one day event, think of it as a 365-day event where you give back all throughout the year. You can participate in other volunteer events all the time by visiting our website contacting me. I can specifically plan and create any size group. Groups larger than 10 need to contact me in advance, individuals and families can show up without advance notice. To give advance notice, please call me or the other agencies that are listed on the website to let them know,” Richard concluded.
By: Carly Calabrese, staff for Tacoma.com