How do you attract people to their neighborhood park, cultivate a feeling of community, and improve water quality at the same time?
The leaders of Friends of Lincoln Park (FLP) are working on it with a 2017 mini-grant from Sweet Water. Small projects like theirs can have a big impact, and it doesn’t require special skills, just some enthusiasm, tenacity, and love of the outdoors. Here’s how they are doing it:
Scheduling river clean-ups and weed-outs (pulling invasive species plants)
Hosting Resource Fairs with a cleaner water theme
Printing “Don’t Litter” signs and printing reminders to pick-up dog poop
Holding regular kayaking and canoeing events
Erecting pet waste stations
Sometimes doing mini-grant projects don’t go perfectly as planned, as FLP found out. Only one of several rain barrels they had were raffled-off at their Resource Fairs. It turns out there was a barrier to knowing how to connect a rain barrel to a downspout. FLP learned they’ll have to give hands-on help to neighborhood residents to connect a rain barrel, or not raffle them at all. FLP had to revise their project plans to emphasize other aspects of their project since this one didn’t work out.
Beyond this year’s project and toward their long–term goals, FLP will continue maintaining signage, monthly paddling events, and finding a solution to finding used dog poop bags throughout the park instead of in waste containers. They also will collaborate with nearby Marvin Pratt Elementary School for in-school projects that connect with Lincoln Park, thus influencing the next generation of our communities.
The Lincoln Park mini-grant project is showing residents how to connect their individual behavior with improving water quality.
How would you use a Sweet Water mini-grant?