A Nationwide Park Friends Network NRPA’s America’s Backyard Program

NRPA is adding a layer of broad-scale advocacy to the “park friends group” model with its America’s Backyard nationwide partnering initiative. While nothing can (or should) take the place of the local park friends group, there has remained a need for organized citizen advocacy for parks at the national level.

The America’s Backyard program was created to draw attention to the important role of parks and recreation in American life—for health, physical fitness, economic development, social interaction, environmental preservation, and community vitality.

“Through America’s Backyard, the public can reach our leaders on Capitol Hill and tell them why parks and recreation are so important to communities,” says Barbara Tulipane, NRPA chief executive officer. “By forming a collective voice, we can all participate in ensuring vibrant, active, healthy futures for ourselves and for future generations.”

America’s Backyard offers citizens two different ways to advocate for the value of public parks, recreation, and environmental conservation:

You can become a Friend of America’s Backyard, showing your support for all parks across the country, with a minimum gift of $25. That membership donation helps NRPA ensure safe, affordable, and accessible park and recreation opportunities are available for all people. Every friend of the program receives:

  • America’s Backyard website—full of information about the value of parks and recreation in the community
  • Monthly Parks and Recreation digital magazine
  • Semi-annual e-newsletter with updates on advocacy and other park and recreation initiatives
  • America’s Backyard Decal—to show off your commitment to parks and recreation.

You can go a step further and involve your local community group in being Park Partner. The benefits? For a contribution of $150 to $250 (depending on the size of your group) you get an education in park advocacy, as well as the satisfaction of knowing you allied with other likeminded citizens to protect parks in the United States. The Park Partner Alliance will connect you to other citizen groups across the country and increase the collective voice for parks and recreation on Capitol Hill. Park Partners receive the following:

  • One complimentary citizen membership to NRPA per group.
  • One complimentary citizen registration per group to NRPA’s Legislative Forum in Washington, D.C.
  • Listing and Web link on the America’s Backyard Web site
  • Advocacy toolkits
  • Webinars and online learning courses to educate the members of your group about advocacy
  • Park and recreation handbooks
  • The ability to network with other community groups across the country

The America’s Backyard initiative is designed to offer citizens many different ways to support parks and recreation—both close to home and across the country. Visit www.americasbackyard.org for further information, as well as examples of NRPA’s work in providing programs and opportunities for greater health, empowerment, and success.