If you run, you have most likely at some point run through a park. I live in a very populated [some would argue that it is overpopulated] area, and it seems every other day I am noticing new construction going up and trees being torn down. Just the other day on a stroller run with my boys I noticed that the lone giant tree left standing on one street had been torn down to make way for a new sidewalk. I remarked out loud to no one but myself, Oh man, that makes me sad. Miles heard and asked what made me sad. I told him I was sad that the old tree had been torn down. He said, “I’m sorry, Mommy. I know you love trees.”
The truth is that I didn’t know how much I loved trees till I moved to an area that didn’t have as many as where I was before. The majority here have nice little mulched circles around them. Gone are the days when I could walk out of my house and run any time of day, finding coolness in the shade of trees. The more we build up urban and suburban areas, the more important it is to keep our parks funded.
Coca-Cola has partnered with the National Park Service in their campaign Live Positively. They created the America Is Your Park contest to award a $100,000 grant to one park, as well as $50,000 to the runner-up and $25,000 to the park that takes third place. YOU can get involved in this campaign by nominating a park in your community or one that holds a special place in your heart. If your favorite park has already been nominated, you can make a difference by voting and helping to spread the word so others can vote. You can also campaign for your park by downloading tools on livepositively.com/parks.
When choosing what park to nominate and/or vote for I was torn between two of my favorites. I was married at Great Falls Park in Virginia, but ultimately I chose the W & OD Railroad park because it is where I trained for my first half-marathon and marathon. I became a runner on this trail, and it will always be a special place to me. If you have never been to either park but live in the DC/VA/MD area, I highly recommend visiting them. Great Falls has spectacular views, and the W & OD is great for running, biking, cycling and even horseback riding!
Below are tips for boosting your favorite park to the top of the list and helping it take home the grand prize.
- Vote at LivePositively.com/parks from now until July 15, 2012.
- Set up a Facebook page to spread the word and rally everyone around your park. Share regular status updates on how your park is ranking on the leader board.
- Visit YouTube and upload a video campaigning for your park. You can see examples on the Coca-Cola YouTube page.
Gather Together at the Park
- Get active in the park. Bike, run, rollerblade or play games with your friends and family.
- And while you’re there, encourage everyone to vote! Each Fourquare check-in from the park earns your favorite 100 more votes. Check out LivePositively.com/parks for more details on voting from the park.
Get Out the Vote!
- Use the toolkit found on LivePositively.com/parks to help organize your community and empower others to get involved.
- Send emails, letters and tweets to community leaders, park groups, local celebrities and more telling them about the campaign and why your park is so special.
- Print out the flyer found in the toolkit and post all over your park. Ask park-goers to use their smartphones to cast a vote on the spot!
What park will you nominate or vote for in the Coca-Cola America Is Your Park campaign?
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Only legal residents of the 50 U.S. (and D.C.) who are at least 13 years old and reside within the U.S. at the time of participation are eligible to vote for a Park. Participate on behalf of a Park by: July 15, 2012. The 3 most popular Parks will be offered a grant and there will be 1 Wild Card drawing at the end of the Contest to award an additional grant. To participate, for Official Rules, and complete details including grant descriptions, visit www.LivePositively.com/parks. Void where prohibited.