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Making strides.

With the help of corporate sponsors and community involvement, this year's March raised $1.5 million for park projects across the country.

NEARLY 75,000 CITIZENS nationwide joined NPCA on April 16-18 for March for Parks 1993--NPCA's annual Earth Day walk for parks and open spaces. The fund-raising event brought hikers to the deserts of Arizona and Utah, schoolchildren to Central Park, llama riders to Wisconsin's Ice Age Trail, outdoor enthusiasts to the wilds of Alaska, and members of the Sioux Nation to the country's largest natural urban park in Washington, D.C. NPCA organizes March for Parks each Earth Day to raise the profile of park issues at the national level and to involve citizens in fund-raising efforts for specific local park projects. This year's march raised nearly $1.5 million for tree plantings, environmental education programs, historic preservation, trail maintenance, and expansion of existing park units.

Some 480 march organizers--called March Partners--volunteered their time and expertise at events from Florida to Hawaii to campaign for local park funding. For example, the Tucson Mountains Association raised funds to create trails and expand Saguaro National Monument, home to the giant cacti found only in the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona and Mexico. The local event was recognized nationally in Congress, where Sen. Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.)--member of the powerful Appropriations Committee, which earmarks funding for park expansion--stated for the Congressional Record, "As a native of Tucson and a proponent of preserving our natural resources and the lifestyle which we have grown to love, this event was very important to me.... Mr. President, I ask that my colleagues join me in offering their support to the March for Parks effort to preserve and protect the precious resources contained at Saguaro National Monument as well as...throughout the entire country."

NPCA's corporate partners helped underwrite national organizing costs and offered a variety of resources to March Partners:

* National sponsor MasterCard International hosted three press conferences and tree-planting ceremonies as part of its reforestation program.

* Presenting sponsor Foghorn Press organized a flagship march to save Angel Island State Park in San Francisco, scheduled to close as a result of cuts in California's state parks budget.

* Product sponsor NAYA--a Canadian natural spring water company--provided cases of its bottled water to thirsty marchers at more than 30 events nationwide.

* Retail sponsors Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack worked with their regional stores to provide on-site coordination and recruitment for marches in their areas.

* Product sponsor Polaroid encouraged teachers in its education program to participate in the Earth Day march, resulting in more than 150 participating school groups.

"March for Parks provides corporations a unique opportunity to make an environmentally responsible investment in a national Earth Day event while securing a local presence for their company and brand," said Elliot Gruber, NPCA's director of marketing.

NPCA's East Coast flagship march in Washington, D.C.'s, Rock Creek Park attracted a diverse crowd of more than 600 people to raise funds for four sites in the century-old park. In keeping with the Earth Day 1993 theme of "Working with the Earth--Honoring Indigenous Peoples," members of the Sioux Nation were present to offer a prayer for the Earth. Individuals and groups across the country worked with their Native American neighbors in signing the Earth Day "Pledge to the Earth and the Children of the Seventh Generation to Come." Signed copies of the pledge will be presented to a convocation of elders through the Seventh Generation Fund.

"The awareness and funds raised by March for Parks for protection of Rock Creek Park and the hundreds of other natural areas nationwide allow us to contribute to a positive future for the next generation," said NPCA President Paul C. Pritchard.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:March for Parks 1993 fundraising event; includes article about the 1994 march
Publication:National Parks
Date:Jul 1, 1993
Words:617
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