July is National Park and Recreation Month celebrating the importance of having and taking care of parks in your community. The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation, health and wellness, and social equity of public parks. Their mission is “to advance parks, recreation and environmental conservation efforts that enhance the quality of life for all people.” This year, the theme of National Park and Recreation Month is “We Are Parks and Recreation.” This theme highlights the hardworking professionals working selflessly to make the parks beautiful.
Now more than ever, there has been an increase in park attendance because of the pandemic and growing preference to meet in open air spaces. This increase in attendance not only benefits the physical, emotional and mental health of individuals, but it also shines a light on how green spaces can be an escape. Being outdoors helps boost immune systems and bone health from Vitamin D. Also, “forest bathing” – surrounding yourself with greenery – is shown to reduce stress, improve heart rates and blood pressure, and lower your risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Just going for a walk outside has been shown to ease anxiety and depression, increasing a person’s well-being. Spending time in nature can be some of the best medicine. So much so, a doctor in Washington D.C. writes prescriptions for park visits. Giving his patients details of which park, how many days, and for how long, Dr. Robert Zarr commits to fact that National Parks and Recreations are a necessity in any neighborhood for any individual.
Advancing the Community
Having a green space near you can help advance your surrounding community. From an economic stand point, the green industry is vastly growing, creating almost 2,000,000 job opportunities. Property value is also affected by having parks near because of the aesthetic benefits parks implement in a neighborhood. This challenges cities to increase future investments and economic growth by implementing parks throughout their neighborhoods.
How We Can Help
At ms, we understand the value parks and recreation spaces hold for our clients and the benefits they can bring to their communities.
Here are some of our favorite and most recent projects improving green spaces in our communities:
What Can You Do?
Now that you know park and recreation spaces can do more than what meets the eye, why does celebrating National Park and Recreation Month mean something to you? Well, it can encourage you to spend the day at a park and embrace the area, or it can present an opportunity to get involved with the NRPA and their organization.