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Partners for parks.

NPCA's fourth annual March for Parks is a celebration of parks and open spaces in which park advocates raise funds through neighborhood walks. March for Parks is based upon successful walk-a-thons but is unique in allowing the local March Partners to choose specific environmental projects that will receive 100 percent of the funds their march raises.

March Partners--individuals or community groups--are organizing city, county, state, and national marches locally in recognition of this year's March for Parks theme, "Adopt a Park." March for Parks will be held April 16, 17, and 18, 1993, to coincide with Earth Day activities.

Already, hundreds of activists nationwide are planning a march in their area. David Canter, a University of Baltimore law student, founded the Young Person's Action Coalition (YPAC) to get young people involved in their community. YPAC will be a March Partner in the Baltimore, Maryland, area. One of YPAC's first actions was to volunteer its time and energy for a clean-up day at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, site of a crucial battle in the War of 1812 that Francis Scott Key immortalized in the "Star Spangled Banner."

"Going to school in the city that inspired our national anthem motivated us to give something back to the community," said Canter. "That's why we organized the clean-up day, and that's why this year we will adopt Fort McHenry for our March for Parks."

YPAC will join the Friends of President Street Station Historic Site, the Defenders, the Coalition to Protect Black Marsh, and the Patriots to raise funds and awareness to preserve Baltimore's heritage.

Thousands of citizens across the country will march in local parks and communities for projects that include purchasing land for public enjoyment through the Hamburg Open Space Preservation Program in Hamburg, New York; stabilizing archaeological ruins at Indian Key State Historic Site in Islamorada, Florida; establishing a children's forest at Balcones Canyon-lands Wildlife Refuge for endangered species protection through the Children's Alliance for Protection of the Environment in Austin, Texas; and purchasing and planting native vegetation in parks and forests by various tree-planting groups.

Tree New Mexico, a nonprofit Albuquerque-based organization, is getting the March for Parks message out to its many volunteers statewide. Since its inception in 1991, the group has donated more than 7,700 volunteer hours and planted more than 40,347 trees in national and state forests, urban and county parks, Bureau of Land Management areas, and many school sites. Executive Director Sue Probart said, "March for Parks is an excellent way for Tree New Mexico to raise funds for those projects that have been sitting on the shelf collecting dust due to lack of money." Probart will work with other tree groups, schools, and service organizations to plan more than 100 marches statewide. The marches will raise funds for urban forestry, riparian work, and distribution of a teacher training manual on reforestation.

The flagship March for Parks will be at Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C. With more than 1,700 acres, Rock Creek is the largest natural park in an urban area. Superintendent Bill Shields said, "I want to make the march at Rock Creek the prototype in terms of the variety of projects and the diversity of organizations involved." Groups from around the city will participate in the event that will raise funds for interpretive and educational materials for handicapped visitors and children; research into historic areas; setting up volunteer programs to improve park conditions; and improved safety at various park sites.

NPCA president Paul Pritchard said, "The Rock Creek Park March for Parks shows what can happen when local community leaders and the National Park Service work together to protect our national treasures. Each partnership project exemplifies our willingness to protect our parks and open spaces for future generations."

Be a March Partner!

March Partners are individuals or groups that are willing to plan a March for Parks in their community on April 16, 17, or 18, 1993. They are responsible for organizing their local march as part of a larger network of marches organized nationwide by the National Parks and Conservation Association. Past March Partners include: National, state, regional, and local

park friends groups Teachers Park managers Trails clubs/walking groups Earth Day coordinators Student groups Local environmental groups Local activists Service organizations

To become a March Partner, call NPCA Director of Grassroots Tom St. Hilaire at 1-800-NAT-PARK.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes related article; National Parks and Conservation Association's March for Parks
Author:St. Hilaire, Tom
Publication:National Parks
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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