Fun for All! March for Parks Event Brings Together Diverse Park Lovers to Support Everglades Restoration Efforts at Chekika

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   March 23, 2006
Contact:  

Marisa Jaffe, National Parks Conservation Association, 786-486-7363, mjaffe@npca.org
Nadine Patrice, Operation Green Leaves, 305-644-9000, nadine@netside.net

 

 



Fun for All! March for Parks Event Brings Together Diverse Park Lovers to Support Everglades Restoration Efforts at Chekika

On April 1, more than 400 diverse park advocates will gather at Chekika for the annual March for Parks event to support restoration efforts in Everglades National Park. The event will attract community residents and families to experience the Everglades scenery, cultural history, and learn about current restoration efforts in the park.

March for Parks provides the opportunity for diverse groups to come together as a community, to support restoration efforts in the Everglades,?said Marisa Jaffe from the National Parks Conversation Association (NPCA). Through this event, local residents can not only help improve the park for today's diverse park users but also help preserve them for future generations to enjoy.

March for Parks will help garner awareness for restoration efforts in the Everglades, as well as for diversity in the parks. South Florida is one of the most diverse regions in the entire United States. Gateway communities represent ethnic groups from Hispanic, African American, Haitian, and Caribbean backgrounds. Although the National Park System protects the heritage of many ethnic groups, recent surveys show that local residents who are people of color remain largely absent from the national parks as visitors, subjects of interpretation, and contractors. By 2050, nearly half of the U.S. population will be composed of people of color.

We must work to protect and preserve the natural and cultural treasures in our national parks for all Americans to enjoy, said Jaffe. With the nation's changing population, it is important that we cultivate park supporters that represent the entire community.

Currently, the National Park Service is working to ensure that ethnic groups are represented on boards and at public hearings to express the needs and interests of diverse populations in Southern Florida.

The South Florida Community Partners group will host the March for Parks event to attract diverse visitors to the park and call attention to the need for more funding for projects that will restore natural water flow through the park to its natural and healthy state. Event activities will include free transportation, guided park tours, games, raffle drawings, viewing of a Florida panther, and demonstration of restoration efforts in the Everglades.

This year, the March for Parks event will take place at Chekika in Everglades National Park. Due to hurricane damage, and the lack of funding and staffing, Chekika was closed to the public in 1999. Restoration efforts are currently underway to temporarily reopen Chekika for seasonal use. The park hopes that events, such as the March for Parks, will help move restoration efforts forward to seasonally reopen the park next fall.

On increase in park funding will help restore Everglades National Park and reopen the Chekika area for people to enjoy for present and future generations, said Jaffe.

March for Parks will take place on Saturday, April 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Buses will be available at the following locations to take marchers to the event: Golden Glades Park & Ride at 8:30 a.m.; MLK Metrorail Station at 9 a.m.; Notre Dame Catholic Church at 8:30 a.m.; Overtown NET Center at 8:30 a.m.; Orange Bowl at 9 a.m.; and Dadeland South Metrorail Station at 9 a.m. To sign up, please call Nadine Patrice at Operation Green Leaves at 305-644-9000.

In 2000, NPCA and a group of local citizens formed the South Florida Community Partners with the mission to increase ethnic representation and encourage diverse users to become life-long advocates for our national parks. To achieve this goal, the group created the annual March for Parks event, which takes place at national parks around the country each year. The first March for Parks event in Florida was held in 2001.

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