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National Recreation and Park Association Awarded $2.5 Million for Green Infrastructure Projects in Parks

ASHBURN, Va., Dec. 4, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) has been awarded a two-year, $2.5 million grant from The JPB Foundation for the Great Urban Parks Campaign to explore the social and environmental benefits of green infrastructure projects in parks, especially in underserved communities. The grant funding will support on-the-ground projects in local communities and will also help NRPA develop resources and training programs on green infrastructure for park, recreation, planning and other professionals.

Green infrastructure is quickly becoming the go-to economical and environmentally friendly solution to ensure resiliency in extreme weather situations moving beyond the aging, "grey" stormwater management systems. Local parks and open space areas are ideally suited for green infrastructure approaches, which often improve and enhance public spaces to benefit the social, environmental and economic aspects of a community.

"Implementing green infrastructure in parks in underserved communities offers a real opportunity to address environmental justice and social equity objectives that many cities grapple with," says Barbara Tulipane president and CEO of NRPA. "We are honored to be awarded this grant from The JPB Foundation because they recognize that we can enhance vulnerable communities by increasing access to nature, recreation and environmental education opportunities in their local parks."

Traditional "grey" infrastructure moves stormwater to the storm drains, sewers or other constructed channels carrying along with it pollutants and runoff from streets and sidewalks. Green infrastructure uses plants and other natural elements to slow the flow of water and allow it to gradually return to the ground or to creeks and river systems. Some of the more commonly known elements of green infrastructure are rain gardens, green roofs, constructed or restored wetlands, and native plants that can be used to create buffers along streams. Once implemented, these natural elements can also serve as areas for active or passive recreation or environmental education and can increase wildlife habitat.

A core focus of the Great Urban Parks Campaign is to demonstrate the valuable social benefits that result as green infrastructure is implemented in underserved communities. The projects will not only provide the needed natural infrastructure but will also serve as places that the public can use to enjoy the outdoors or recreate, observe nature and gather together socially. The Great Urban Parks Campaign is a collaboration between NRPA and the American Planning Association. NRPA will also work with the Low Impact Development Center for technical assistance.

For more information, visit www.nrpa.org/greeninfrastructure.

About The National Recreation and Park Association

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of 50,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit www.NRPA.org. For digital access to NRPA's flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.ParksAndRecreation.org.

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CONTACT: Lauren Hoffmann 703.858.2151 lhoffmann@nrpa.org @NRPA_News

Source:National RecreationandPark Association