From funding cuts for maintenance and updates to population loss, shifting demographics and lack of attention from local government entities, many of our country’s parks and recreational green spaces enjoyed by previous generations are outdated, unsafe and in need of renovation.
To raise awareness and funding to reverse this trend, Project EverGreen designated July 16-22, 2017 as National “Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids.” Awareness Week. The week raised recognition of the program and spotlighted the program’s efforts to provide safe, well-maintained and accessible parks and recreational green spaces for children and communities across the United States.
“Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids.” is a nationwide initiative to renovate and revitalize parks and recreational green spaces in urban communities to ensure children have access to a safe place to play and exercise. Managed yards, parks and athletic fields not only promote a healthier lifestyle, but contribute to economic growth, community development and benefit the environment.
“Joining this initiative is an investment in a healthier, happier future for children across the country,” said Cindy Code, executive director of Project EverGreen. “Our goal is to make sure that safe, modern green space is available so children can make exercise, athletics and recreation a part of their daily lives.”
Managed green spaces that include healthy grass, plants and trees results in better park use, increased safety and the creation of a community hub for long-time neighbors, their grandchildren and the next generation moving into the neighborhood. Additionally, the grass, plants and trees will clean the air, sequester carbon and provide oxygen. This truly is a win-win situation.
Since the program’s inception, renovation projects covering more than 1.6 million sq. ft. of athletic and recreational green spaces have been completed across the country including East Harlem, NYC; Hazlet, NJ; Houston, San Antonio, Round Rock and Ft. Worth, Texas; North Chicago, Il.; Cleveland; Durham and Greensboro, N.C.; West End, Wisc.; Ashland, Oregon; and Minneapolis.
Projects on tap for the remainder of 2017 include Detroit; Durham, NC.; and San Marcos, Calif.
“Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids.” Facts & Figures
- 14 – The degrees cooler that grass is than bare soil
- 30 – The degrees cooler that grass is vs. asphalt
- 60 – The number of minutes children age 5 to 17 should engage in physical activity on a daily basis
- 100 – The number of calories a child can burn up in one hour of active play
- $1 million – The in-kind donation value for “Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids.” projects since the program’s inception
- 1.6 million – Estimated square footage of recreational and athletic green space renovated by Project EverGreen’s “Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids.” initiative.
- Physically active young people demonstrate higher academic performance at school.
- There is growing evidence that horticulture is important on a human level. Plants lower blood pressure, reduce muscle tension related to stress, improve attention and reduce feelings of fear and anger or aggression.
- Studies in neighborhoods, housing projects and prisons show that when landscaping projects are promoted there is a definite increase in self-esteem and a decrease in vandalism.
To learn more about sponsoring or submitting a Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids. renovation project in your community, visit www.ProjectEverGreen.org