Three Cheers for Local Parks & Rec Departments This Summer!

July is National Park and Recreation Month, and as states slowly begin to reopen from months-long stay-at-home orders designed to stop the spread of COVID-19, now is a great time to recognize how these spaces have continued to provide welcome relief to weary Americans. Many parks and rec departments are considered essential services, and as such have continued to provide services during the pandemic to make their communities better places to live, work, and play.

Many cities and towns across the country have kept parks, trails, and green spaces open to provide safe places for Americans to exercise, spend time with family, and enjoy nature while social distancing. Besides promoting physical health, these community gems also support mental health as well. NEEF has long promoted the beneficial qualities of outdoor activity—check out our Nature Champions resources for more information on how to take advantage of the public lands in your community.

Normally, July sees parks and rec departments gearing up for busy summers full of camps for children, sports clinics, swim lessons, softball leagues, gardening seminars, educational workshops, and more. But with the continued threat of COVID-19—and the changing face of the pandemic’s impact on communities—many summer activities have been delayed or cancelled.

However, some are moving forward by adapting to follow new pandemic protocols outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While safety measures vary by location, they typically address issues such as proper hygiene, sanitizing, social distancing, restricting large crowds, requiring masks, and limiting access to certain amenities.

Are you looking to work with your local parks and recreation department this summer? Check your community’s website for the latest COVID-19 updates regarding currently available programming and tap into these NEEF resources to help you keep environmental education alive this summer, whether at home or at a local park.

Author: Lisa Beach

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