Love Your Park: Austin Parks Foundation

As many of you may know, the South By Southwest (SXSW) Festival is held every year in Austin, TX in March. This year, they announced they will be donating money to the Austin Parks Foundation, a foundation dedicated and devoted to building public/private partnerships to develop and maintain parks, trails, and open space in Austin and Travis County, that generates millions of dollars each year in volunteer time, in-kind donations, and financial support for Austin’s 19,000+ parks.

Image Courtesy of: http://www.austinparks.org/index.html
Image Courtesy of: http://www.austinparks.org/index.html

The one major thing that stands out in my mind about Austin is how many parks there are. The first time I visited, I couldn’t remember all of the parks that we visited straight! Each one is gorgeous, and each one is clean, spacious, and very natural. Many have great running or walking trails that go through residential areas, lakes, streams, rocky terrain, or gives you a great view of the downtown Austin skyline.

Photo Courtesy of: http://www.austinparks.org/index.html
Photo Courtesy of: http://www.austinparks.org/index.html

The APF has many notable events, including “It’s My Park Day,” “Movies in the Park,” “Yoga in the Park,” and many other volunteer working days to help beautify the parks in the wonderful city of Austin. It’s My Park Day is held on the first Saturday in March and is when volunteers from all over Austin head down to the parks to paint benches, pick up trash, plant trees, spread mulch, and clearing and maintaining trails. Movies and yoga in the park are a great way to show the residents of Austin how beautiful their parks are, and also gives them an incentive to help maintain them and keep them clean.

Photo Courtesy of: http://theaustinurbangide.com/archives/604
Photo Courtesy of: http://theaustinurbangide.com/archives/604

I love this organization and wish that more cities and states would follow suit and come up with something like this! As far as I know, my hometown doesn’t have anything like this. Most of the problem when it comes to parks and their upkeep is the fact that people forget about them, and don’t treat them properly. A program like this teaches and encourages residents what exactly goes into maintaining a park, and also gives them an incentive to keep it clean with programs like movies and yoga in the park. You wouldn’t want to be trying to meditate while in the tree pose in a dirty or littered park, would you? Do any of you know of any other programs from other cities or states that are like this? I would love to know of more and blog about those, too! Has anyone volunteered for one of these programs or even started one? What were your experiences like? Let me know! I’d love your comments and feedback!

Photo Courtesy of: http://ateam-moving.com/austin-movers/
Photo Courtesy of: http://ateam-moving.com/austin-movers/
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