Chances are, if you are reading this blog, YOU are a park lover and appreciate how special The Parklands is. Our park system is unique because we rely on donor support to fund our daily operations. Our goal is to maintain the parks to a standard – not a schedule. Clean, Safe, Fun, and Beautiful is our mantra at The Parklands and our Members help us fulfill it. Here is a quick look at the projects some of our teams are working on this spring to ensure your next visit to The Parklands is enjoyable.
“Spring is the time of plans and projects.” – Leo Tolstoy
The Facilities & Hospitality Team gears up for a busy year filled with races, walks, weddings and picnics. Our reputation for excellent customer service and stunning views means we will have the pleasure of hosting over 100 special events this year. Funds generated from facility rentals go right back into maintaining this donor-supported public park.
Our Education Team prepares for thousands of youngsters to come to the parks to attend camps and field trips, explore the woods, stomp in the creek and learn about natural history and science. Interpretive Rangers are hard at work planning activities to stimulate curiosity, provide opportunities to gain an appreciation for the natural world and to have fun. For many students, their visit to The Parklands is their first time immersed in nature! Therefore, our goal is to create a positive and memorable experience.
Comprised of retired police officers, the Ranger Team focuses on park safety. Communication and training with local first responders is central to their role. In addition to patrolling the parkways, Rangers walk the trails and ride their bike across the parks to engage with visitors. As visitation rises with the temperature, their role becomes even more important.
Right now, you will find the Operations Team doing a little spring “sprucing up” across the parks. Special projects include cleaning signs, power washing bathrooms and trailheads, and kiosk maintenance. In addition, the operations team will soon begin turning on the water fountains, donor fountain, and spraygrounds. Working 365 days a year, the operations team is the backbone of your park experience, whether you notice them or not!
Talk to a member of the Garden Team and they will say that trimming ornamental grasses and prepping garden beds for spring is at the top of their “to-do” list. Plans are in the works to redesign the garden beds at Creekside Center in Beckley Creek Park, continue work on The Woodland Garden and choose new themes for the Farmer’s Table beds at the Brown-Forman Silo Center and the fragrance beds at the PNC Achievement Center for Education and Interpretation.
The “Dig In! Spring Garden Prep” series and the annual Spring Creek Sweep on April 21st are just two examples of the tremendous contribution Volunteers make to the parks. This spring, look for new (and fun) volunteer enrichment and appreciation activities. Also, keep an eye out for our dynamic Ambassador team out on the trails!
Last year, to enhance our efforts to propagate native plants, we built a greenhouse. The Garden and Natural Areas Teams spent time this past fall collecting seeds, and soon the teams will plant these new seedlings across the parks. Meadow maintenance and scouting sites where invasive species have snuck in are top priorities for the Natural Areas Team.
“In the spring, I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.”
The weather has a huge impact on the work of the Trail Team. The Silo Center Bike Park will open back up this spring. The amount of rain over the next two months will determine the opening date. Speaking of water, look for improved drainage on the Big Beech and Coppiced Woods Trails. Word in the woods is that the Trail Team is building a new and challenging trail in Broad Run Park . . . more details coming in the next Member Memo.
The Parklands website, social media, signs, and outreach are the domain of the Communications Team. Keeping visitors, the community and staff informed of all the happenings, important alerts, closures and announcements are their top priorities. They also keep their fingers on the pulse of what our visitors are seeing and saying.
Finally, our Fundraising Team is gearing up to help make sure we have the funding necessary to accomplish all of our spring goals. We’re also finalizing the special programming we have in store for 2018. Most importantly, we are working with YOU, our team of Members, to ensure all of this is possible, and we thank you in advance!
Next time you see a team member out in the parks, give them a wave or feel free to ask them about their current projects. We appreciate your love of The Parklands and the role you play in its success as a donor. Your continued support not only helps maintain the parks today, but it also ensures future generations will be able to enjoy this special place.