Are you looking for a volunteer project the whole family can enjoy? Your local park is a great place to start! As the weather warms and winter fades, you might be planning to spend a lot of time in local parks; however, with the arrival of spring, snowmelt can reveal debris and litter that has blown into green spaces throughout winter.
Simply choose a project that appeals to your skill set, and then check with your local park’s board to get approval before you get started. Celebrate spring, enjoy time as a family and give back to the environment and your community with a park cleanup!
Planting trees in your park can add a lot of value to the area. Not only will trees provide much-desired shade, but they’ll also improve the air quality of your local park, too.
Start by researching the types of trees you should plant. Make you choose according to the climate of your city so that the trees will have the best chance of survival, and also so that they will not interfere with the balance of the ecosystem. When it’s time to plant them, do it in areas that could use an aesthetic boost! Ideal spots are by water features (lakes and ponds) or around the playground and park benches. Or, pick a place where families like to picnic, and plant trees there to provide some privacy and shelter from the sun.
Find out about local tree planting procedures on your city’s or community’s website.
Parks are high-traffic areas in most cities. This means that trash is bound to show up in and around your park and playground—whether blown from overflowing waste bins or littered by individuals.
When discussing ways your family can help clean your local park, don’t overlook a literal cleanup! Picking up trash will make a huge difference in the appearance and overall health of your park. A clean area will encourage others to keep the park pristine. When picking up trash and debris, make sure to wear gloves to protect yourself, and put trash in appropriate receptacles or lawn bags. You can also contact your local waste management company to schedule a pickup when you’re finished.
Trim Bushes and Landscaping
If your park already has a good landscape design, it might just need some tending. Volunteering as a family to trim and shape shrubs and bushes will do wonders!
Start by trimming overgrown bushes and cutting the grass—these are instant fixes that will improve the park’s appearance. If your space is lacking any real landscaping, it’s time to play in the dirt! This is a project that requires clearance from your municipality or park authority, but you can make a real difference by planting a variety of green and colourful things that will add visual appeal to the park. Start small by planting flowers along a walkway or adding new mulch to the playground area. Dreaming big? Add rows of shrubbery to distinguish play and picnic areas.
Keep safety at the forefront with these safe landscaping tips!
Plant a Community Garden
Of course you can exercise your green thumb in other ways, too. Starting a community garden in your park will bring bright and cheery fun for everyone to enjoy! Even better, this will be an ongoing project that will keep the community invested in the park for years to come.
Before you start, work with municipal/park authorities to survey the area and determine where you want to plant your garden. Think about what you want to grow: flowers or herbs and vegetables? Consider planting flowers around trees and walkways or create a special garden space that’s enclosed by shrubs or a fence. Add a bench so people can sit and admire the flowers and make the entrance special by coaxing flower vines over an arched trellis.
Paint a Mural
Sure, flowers are colourful, but if you want to make a bigger splash, paint a mural! Murals are making a comeback in public spaces and can be an exciting addition to the look and feel of your park. In addition to providing the community with a free outdoor art gallery, murals can be great community building projects. You can take a creative license with this project and attend a town hall meeting to ask the community what theme or style they’d like the mural to take.
Remember, public art can be as simple as stenciling on public objects like park benches, or something more complex that tells a story on a larger surface like a wall.
Once you’ve got a plan, decide on your canvas. Whether it’s a wooden fence, cement wall or even a brick walkway, clean the area first. This will ensure that the paint will stick well. It also doesn’t hurt to prime the area with a base coat. Acrylic paint is one of the most durable and long-lasting types for this kind of project. You’ll want your hard work to withstand the elements!