- Megan Shaffer
It's Park and Recreation Month!
Take some time this July to recognize all of the physical, economic, and environmental benefits that national parks and recreation centers offer. Local parks and rec centers encourage communities to get outside, explore, and enjoy outdoor activities. There’s no better time to take advantage of these outdoor community spaces than National Park and Recreation Month!
Not only do parks connect communities, but they also play an important role in environmental health by cleaning water, preserving wildlife, and offering a refuge to animals year-round. Exploring parks together can allow your family or class to discover the local ecosystem. Plus, they provide space for sports fields, beaches, trails, and other spaces you can enjoy with family and community members.
Parks also provide a place for children and adults to get active. In addition to keeping people healthy, staying active helps increase the chances of a child’s success in school. Exercising and spending times outdoors improves creativity, decreases stress hormones, and calms aggression.
What is Park and Recreation Month?
The main goal of Park and Recreation month, created by the National Reaction and Park Association (NRPA), is to promote the opportunities and resources that local park and recreation agencies provide. It’s a time to encourage the public to get out and see all the things that are happening in their community.
The NRPA creates showcases with local parks and rec centers to offer fun and engaging activities all over the United States throughout the month of July. From sports leagues to concerts, it’s a month meant for every age to enjoy.
Things You Should Know and Park and Recreation Month
Since 1985, Americans have celebrated Park and Recreation Month in July to promote the awareness of health and wellness, conservation and social equity, and to recognize the important role that hundreds of park and recreation employees play in keeping our parks and recreation centers clean and well.
The US government passed an official resolution for Park and Recreation Month in 2009, fully recognizing the resolution in 2017 and 2018.
Throughout July, parks and recreation agencies nationwide will be holding summer programs, events, contests, commemoration, and celebrations.
Facts About Park and Recreation Month
Americans have always benefited greatly from their local parks – and continue to do so. In a 2018 study, Wakefield Research and the NRPA conducted a study and gained the following information:
Average Americans visit parks twice a month.
3 out of 4 Americans live within a 10-minute walk of a park or rec center.
85% of Americans value parks and recreation as a factor when choosing a place to live.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) found that increased access to places for physical activity led to a 25% in people exercising three or more times per week. Their study also found that:
Children who lived in greener environments weigh less than children who live in less green areas.
Children are five times more likely to have a healthy weight when they have access to a playground compared to those that don’t have an easy access.
The nation’s park and rec centers are on the front lines in fighting obesity and other health issues.
Not only do humans benefit from having parks, but the environment benefits too. Here’s how:
A park with one acre of tree absorbs the carbon dioxide produced by driving a car 11,000 miles.
Parks support plant and animal biodiversity.
Parks reduce the impact of large storms and flooding by serving as sponges that soak up run off from nearby paved surfaces during rain, preventing flooding and decreasing property damages. Some parks are designed to recycle and store water for times of low precipitation.
Make sure that you enjoy this month by heading to your local parks and recreation facilities and checking out the fun celebrations they have going on this month. For more information about National Park and Recreation Month and the activities going on, check out the NPRA website.