Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Community Building Tip: Green Space

For my current set of tips, I've decided to use the one I wrote based on how to make your hometown more like Bluehill in Terramagne-America. I took a close look at the town's positive features with an eye toward replicating them here with local resources.

* Lots of green space. LOTS and LOTS of green space. Bluehill has at least two massive parks that I've seen already, Briarwood and Mill Creek, plus smaller ones such as Soda Springs, plus little strips and pockets just everywhere. Some have the ubiquitous petunias and such, but many are landscaped with native plants. Look for opportunities to adopt a parklet, lobby for native plants, or convert pavement to greenery. Suggest turning an eyesore of a vacant lot into a wildlife sanctuary.

Green space is good for people. Conversely, lack of nature causes problems. So the more green space, the better. Look for ways to increase green space in your town. Here are some techniques for green cities. Tree City USA and Green City are a couple of good programs.

Measure the green space in your town. How many types does it have? If it skips some, consider filling those gaps.

While it's difficult to find big patches of land, it's easy to find little ones. Pocket parks can occupy a vacant lot or odd-shaped bit of space at an intersection. Medians and roadsides offer great opportunities too. Look around your town for unused nooks and crannies, then investigate what it would take to turn them into parks.

Many cities have adopt-a-park plans. Here is an example. Check your local park service to see if yours does. Businesses, churches, neighborhood organizations, and many other groups can adopt a park or other bit of green space. Large outdoor planters filled with flowers can make a parklet around a bicycle rack or a few benches. Learn how to improve your parks and other community spaces.

How equitable and accessible are your parks? If they don't measure up well, work on making them more equitable and more accessible.

Community gardens help people in many ways. Learn how to find or start one in your area. How accessible is your community garden? Learn how to improve its accessibility. Here are some best practices for community gardens.

School gardens can teach many lessons. Explore how to start a school garden. Consider challenges and solutions. Browse best practices for school gardens.

Healing gardens outside health centers of any kind can improve health and thus lower costs of health care. Learn about healing gardens. Check your local providers. Do they have a healing garden? If not, suggest adding one. Think about how to plan a healing garden.

Rain gardens and bioswales capture water, making it an asset instead of a liability. Learn how to plant a rain garden or dig a bioswale. Many cities already have borrow pits that fill with water. These ponds can be landscaped for wildlife. Here is an example. Does your city have flood problems? Explain to people how water control greenery can help. Is the problem polluted water running into your ponds or rivers? Route runoff through a swamp filter to clean it. Use native plants! Some imported ones like water hyacinth have become invasive. Always explain what your plan can do to benefit your audience.

Native plants are more useful to wildlife and convenient for people. Learn how to use native plants in your yard or urban landscaping. Explore what a wildlife garden needs to provide.

You can do lots of things in a park or other green space. Invite some friends along; the more people involved in nature, the better. Most towns have a municipal park service that cares for parks and presents activities. Look up yours and find out what they do. You might even volunteer to lead an activity if you know one that they're not offering. Classes, crafts, plein air art, physical activities such as yoga -- use your imagination. The more citizens using the green space, the higher the motivation for the city to make more.

Forest bathing has many benefits. You can start a forest bathing club in your area. Drive to nearby state parks on weekends, or use local parks during the week. People who love nature and get out in it are more likely to help you increase the green space in your town.
Tags: a little slice of terramagne, how to, recurring posts
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