News & Updates

At Your Park

Susy Alkaitis - September 7, 2022

Urban and suburban green spaces are vital havens for many species such as migratory birds, urban mammals like bats, foxes, and deer, and important insects like butterflies and bees; in addition to being necessary for human health. Access to urban green space is associated with better memory development in children and better health outcomes for city dwellers. For example, researchers in Denmark found that there was a 42% increase in symptoms of chronic stress, such as depression and anxiety, for individuals that lived more than 1 kilometer (0.62 miles) away from urban green space. The U.S. Forest Service reports that, in 2010, trees removed 17.4 million tons of air pollution in the United States alone, which prevented 850 deaths and 670,000 acute respiratory diseases.

Our parks are for everyone, human and animal, and it is vital to take steps to protect them. Three of the seven core principles of Leave No Trace teach us to “Dispose of Waste Properly”, “Respect Wildlife”, and “Be Considerate of Others”; and these lessons apply in your local parks just as much as they do in Yellowstone or Yosemite. Small actions in your local parks can have an outsized impact on your community. Be a champion of your local parks by ensuring that you pack out what you bring in and be mindful of your impact; remember that noise and crowding disturb wildlife and other people. When you visit the park, respect wildlife by not feeding them and giving them plenty of space; always observe from a distance.

Many parks have habitat restoration areas and gardens that are important wildlife habitats. Help to protect them by avoiding walking or hanging out in these areas and keep an eye on dogs and children to ensure they don’t play in these areas either. Make a direct difference in your parks by volunteering with the parks department or joining park cleanup days. Finally, become a green space advocate in your community by lobbying your municipality or parks department to do more good by undertaking habitat restoration projects, adding or increasing important park infrastructure like trash cans and recycling bins, or creating new parks. 


Article Written by: Kenny Prior, Andrea Green and Sarah Steinke


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