Picture a healthy, thriving community. What do you see? Do you picture tree lined streets, gardens or parks – all places where people can form bonds and enjoy the outdoors?
Green spaces provide us with important social, health and environmental benefits. This month, we hosted an interactive conversation with local leaders who are working to preserve, grow and improve access to green space throughout our urban core — from urban gardening to public parks to Richmond’s riverfront. We heard from several experts, including Frazier Armstrong with Capital Trees, Duron Chavis with Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and Beautiful RVA, and Chris Frelke with Richmond Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities.
“Green spaces in urban areas serve as catalysts for ALL people to engage in nature — walk during their lunch hour, walk the dog, push a stroller, bike and connect to the outdoors for a variety of activities,” Frazier Armstrong said. “We believe public landscapes are community assets that can have a profound impact on a community’s quality of place. Simply being in nature has documented physical and mental health benefits, reduces health inequalities and improves well-being.”
Would you like to get involved in your community’s green spaces? Here are a few ways you can start:
- Sign up for a volunteer project designed to improve or beautify nonprofit or public spaces through HandsOn Greater Richmond: http://bit.ly/HandsOnEnvironment
- Take a tour of the Low Line and learn about the plants, ecosystem and history of this important part of the city. You can call Capital Trees for a guided walking tour for any size group: (804) 788-6450.
- Do you have a green space you would like to see come alive in your neighborhood? Suggest a project for the Ginter Urban Gardeners: http://beautifulrva.org/suggest-a-project/
- Consider joining your local park’s Friends group. Enrichmond Foundation has a list of parks with Friends organizations — visit their Partner Directory and sort by “Parks”: https://enrichmond.org/partners/
- Challenge yourself to spend 15 minutes outside every day for a week. What do you notice about your green spaces? How does it feel to be outside?