Month: November 2014

Park Pride Gives Thanks

Park Pride has so much to be thankful for! 2014 was undoubtedly our best year yet, and it couldn’t have been done without our vast network of park enthusiasts and supporters. We must give recognition and thanks where it is due!

THANK YOU to the City of Atlanta and DeKalb County, for believing in our mission and allowing us to carry our torch forward in our work with your parks.

THANK YOU, Friends of the Park groups, for your dedication, motivation and commitment to parks! Your passion is the engine that keep this Park Pride train rolling!



THANK YOU to all of our funders, for keeping Park Pride’s programs growing (The Woodruff Foundation, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, The Home Depot Foundation, Cecil B. Day Foundation, Morgens West Foundation, the Waterfall Foundation, The Kendeda Fund, Zeist Foundation, Sara Giles Moore Foundation, Cox Conserves and Kaiser Permanent, among many others!)

THANK YOU, volunteers, for all of your time and effort in beautifying parks, even when it is uncomfortable to do so (rain, cold, poison ivy, and hard work!).

Home Depot Spink Collins copy


THANK YOU, park advocates, for showing up to meetings wearing your green shirts, and showing state and city officials that parks have a constituency that cares and serves as a voice for parks!



THANK YOU, Atlanta ToolBank, for keeping Park Pride Volunteer Manager and volunteers equipped for hard labor and all sorts of tasks!

THANK YOU, park conservancies, for each working towards specific goals in your parks, and striving to make the treasured greenspaces of our region better!

THANK YOU, corporations and businesses that love parks, for supporting our vision for parks by sending hundreds of volunteers to parks on a monthly basis, having drastic positive impacts on parks over a short period of time.



THANK YOU, businesses and organizations, who’ve offered their skills and services to Park Pride free of charge, to help us make the most of our 25th Anniversary! (Kai Lin Art, Studio Fitz, Gnoggin Studios, Digital Arts Studio and Green Shortz)

THANK YOU, Park Pride staff, for sharing upbeat attitudes, camaraderie and smiles, making each day at the office an absolute pleasure!



THANK YOU, Park Pride Board of Directors, for providing the leadership to keep our organization on course and moving full speed ahead!

THANK YOU, City of Atlanta and DeKalb park workers, who are in the trenches and digging in the dirt daily to keep our parks looking their best!



THANK YOU, parks and greenspaces, for lowering our stress levels and increasing our happiness, vastly improving our quality of life!

Parks are restorative!

Parks are restorative!


And THANK YOU, donors, for your generosity that makes Park Pride’s work possible year after year!


25 Reasons to Donate to Park Pride

It’s the season when you’re looking at who’s been naughty and nice, and figuring out what gifts you’ll be giving during the holidays this year. We’ve compiled 25 reasons why Park Pride should be on your “nice” list during our 25th Anniversary. We hope you’ll consider them and give a gift to our mission to improve parks and greenspace across Atlanta and DeKalb County!

PP25_F generalOnly you can help us continue do to the work we do to improve parks and strengthen communities. DONATE NOW. No gift is too small to make a difference in parks. Thank you!

25 reasons to donate to Park Pride

In no particular order and with varying degrees of legitimacy (!):

25. Because of the power of parks! It’s been proven that parks increase happiness and decrease stress in the individuals that have access to them. Parks are places where we can relax with family and friends, enjoy a walk, run or team activity, connect with nature, and the list goes on. The health of our city depends on the health of our parks, and all of Park Pride’s programs have the end goal of making each park a better place to be.

Parks are restorative!

Parks are restorative!

24. Park Pride believes in partnerships. No one is able to accomplish as much alone as we’re able to accomplish together, and Park Pride is proud to work along side like-minded organizations to bring about changes in Atlanta in DeKalb and make  needed improvements in our park systems!

23. Park Pride has helped to coordinate over 500,000 volunteer service hours in parks since 1989! That is a huge effort, and not a single one of those hours would have been possible without dedicated communities, community members, and corporate volunteers giving of their time and energy to help improve and maintain our park land. It also wouldn’t be possible without…

22. THIS GUY! John Ahern, Volunteer Manager, has been with Park Pride since June 2010! In his own words, John “… has probably the best job in the world! Working with large groups of volunteers out in our beautiful parks, to make them even more beautiful!” Hard work has never been so fun (clearly!). Donate to Park Pride in honor of John!

john and revonda

John Ahern, Volunteer Manager

21. Park Pride believes that knowledge is power, and that participating in the global conversations surrounding parks and greenspace is important and benefits all those who partake! Each year, we invite you to the Annual Parks and Greenspace Conference to bring your park stories and lessons learned to the table, as well as to engage with greenspace leaders from across the globe!


2013 Parks and Greenspace Conference

20. While many of the larger parks have their own dedicated conservancies, Park Pride is informally known as the park conservancy for the little guys!

19. Park Pride makes parks safer. Park sight lines are vastly improved following volunteer work days where invasive plant removal is a focus. More visibility and eyes on the park leads to fewer crimes committed in the park. Additionally, new amenities in parks funded by Park Pride grants (playgrounds, walking trails, exercise equipment, better lighting, etc.), increase positive activity in the parks, also resulting in a decrease in crime.

Volunteers from Bennett Thrasher remove invasive plants from Atlanta Memorial Park along Howell Mill Road, increasing visibility into the park.

Volunteers from Bennett Thrasher remove invasive plants from Atlanta Memorial Park along Howell Mill Road, increasing visibility into the park.

18. Our Executive Director, Michael Halicki, looks like Ed Helms. A legitimate reason to donate? Eh – questionable. But we won’t tell!  Donate to Michael’s fundraiser….


From Left: Ed Helms, Michael Halicki. Or is it the other way around…

17. We’re dedicated to parks. DEDICATED. Allison Barnett has been with Park Pride since the beginning: as an employee, as Executive Director, and now as Associate Director. Allison’s longevity at Park Pride illustrates that our people don’t just like parks. We love them. We’re committed. Donate to Park Pride in honor of Allison Barnett!


Allison Barnett, Associate Director of Park Pride, circa 1993!

16. Park Pride has help over 100 Friends of the Park groups organize since the program’s inception in 2007. Those groups took it upon themselves to make a difference in their parks and in their neighborhoods – and they have! From organizing community events in their parks, to community based plantings and volunteer days, the Friends of the Park groups have given their all to parks, and we are both grateful and proud to be their partner! Additionally, much of the success of the Friends of the Park Program can be attributed to

15. THIS LADY! Ayanna Williams has been with Park Pride since October 2007 as the Director of Community Building. Ayanna works with the Friends of the Parks groups in all capacities: from organizing groups, to coordinating workshops, to acting as a group’s liaison with the city or county, and heading the Community Garden Program, this woman does it all! Donate for Ayanna!

Ayanna Williams, Director of Community Building

Ayanna Williams, Director of Community Building

14. Donate to Park Pride because we loves dogs! The end of 2013 brought with it the ribbon cutting and official opening of the Renaissance Park Dog Park! Park Pride is proud to have been able to be a part of the larger team that made this doggie dreamland a reality, contributing a matching Community Building Grant for the park’s construction. A great amenity for Downtown!


Dog enjoying Renaissance Park Dog Park – we love dogs!

13. Over the years, we’ve supported over 250 parks in Atlanta and DeKalb: enough said. 🙂


12. November 13th, Georgia Gives Day, was also THE EXACT DATE of Park Pride’s 25th birthday! See? “Park Pride Atlanta, Inc.” was incorporated on November 13, 1989! Happy birthday to us!incorporated2

11. Park Pride takes a grassroots approach to park improvements, focusing on the communities wants and needs first and working up from there. We literally couldn’t do what we do without community support!

10. Park Pride helps communities define their park dreams! The Park Visioning process and resulting conceptual master plans not only energize the communities to improve their quality of life, but become powerful tools to solicit private funding and lobby for public funding for communities to help reach their goals.

Park Visioning Team

Park Pride’s Visioning team, Director of Visioning Walt Ray, and Visioning Coordinator, Becky Katz, look over a park master plan developed by the community.

9. Park Pride has worked with 30 communities to produce Park Visioning plans. The program’s success is driven by the Director of Park Visioning, Walt Ray, who spearheaded the program in 2005 and has worked with dozens of community groups to help them work together to identify needs and prioritize wants, resulting in park plans that excite and unite neighborhoods. Walt Ray and Visioning Coordinator, Becky Katz, are an amazing duo and we are so lucky to have them as part of the Park Pride family. Donate in honor of Walt and Becky!

8. Those 30 visioning plans have in turn resulted in $12 million invested in parks!

7. Y’all look good in green 🙂 Park Pride is helping park enthusiasts stay ahead of trending fashions with our “I ❤ Parks” t-shirts. You’re welcome! (If you’d like, you can purchase a shirt here.)

Models wearing "I <3 Parks" t-shirts

Everyone looks great in our green t-shirts!

6. Park Pride advocates for more park land; our goal is to make a park accessible to ALL Atlantans within a 10 minute walk from their homes. See? It says it here on the PARC (Parks Atlanta Rescue Coalition) Pledge!

Parc pledge complete_Page_15. Park Pride was successful in getting ALL members of Atlanta City Council to sign the four-point PARC Pledge! We were determined that parks and greenspace were considered in their agendas and knocked on doors until all had signed. Not only that, but Mayor Kasim Reed also issued a statement of support!

4. Park Pride strengthens communities through building community consensus. As Friends of the Park and community groups move through the Park Visioning program to re-imagine their park, they’re forced to take a good look at  all aspects of their needs and talk in-depth about their wants for their greenspace. The Park Vision, produced by Park Pride, is a final plan arrived at together with the community.


Community members of Collier Heights participate in Park Pride’s Visioning workshop.

 3. Park Pride helped to pass the legislation that made community gardens allowable in parks! There are now 20 community gardens in public parks across the city and county, enjoyed and loved by Friends of the Park groups!

Selena Butler Park community garden

Community garden installation at Selena Butler Park.

2. WE love parks. And,

1. YOU love parks. It’s a perfect match!

Friends of Lang-Carson Park

Friends of Lang-Carson Park loving their park and King of Pops popsicles!

We hope you’ll consider us for a donation! Gifts of any size can help make BIG differences! THANK YOU for believing in us and in our mission to create more and better parks!


Show Our Strength & Stand Up for Park Land!

Special guest post by Park Pride’s Executive Director, Michael Halicki:



Attention Park Advocates,

This message is an “all hands on deck” alert for those who care about parks and greenspace!

The Georgia Legacy is a coalition comprised of The Trust for Public Land, The Nature Conservancy, the Georgia Conservancy, the Georgia Wildlife Federation, The Conservation Fund, the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia, Park Pride, and other entities that understand the importance of being connected and taking a stand when necessary. Now is that time.

On Thursday, November 20th from 9am-4pm, the Joint Study Committee Meeting on Georgia Legacy will take place at Panola Mountain. This is a daylong meeting which I know is a big ask — but the stakes could not be higher.

The Georgia Legacy backgrounder details the proposal for a constitutional amendment that could generate approximately $40M for land acquisition for parks and greenspace. Funding would support:

  1. priority land acquisition following the Department of Natural Resources plan,
  2. stewardship of state parks and wilderness management areas,
  3. and funding for local parks and trails. (The two bullets detailing this third point state that this funding would “match local government funds to build parks and trails” and would also “provide incentives for local governments to address local conservation priorities.”)

While not wanting to be overly dramatic – this is a BIG day for those that care about parks and greenspace! The state SHOULD be supporting land conservation with dedicated funding, and this hearing is exploring that option.

An important part of this hearing is who shows up, which conveys whether the public cares about this issue or not.

Therefore, Park Pride is marshaling forces to make a strong showing on November 20th. We encourage attendees to wear their green “I Heart Parks” shirts. If you don’t have a green t-shirt, let us know you are coming (email and we will provide shirts to the first 10 committed attendees.

Please RSVP through this Eventbrite link.

To conserve our resources, our partners have arranged a shuttle to take supporters to Panola Mountain. But seating is limited, and you can indicate if you’d like a space on the shuttle through the RSVP form.

If you care about parks and greenspace, I urge you to be part of the groundswell that shows up at Panola Mountain!


PS. – The meeting’s agenda can be viewed here.