IDAHO FALLS – The City of Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation’s Adopt-a-Park Program has received high accolades from the Idaho Recreation and Parks Association (IRPA).
The IRPA recognized the Parks and Rec Department and Renee Buchan, the marketing and volunteer coordinator, with the Outstanding Innovative Program award during the 2023 annual conference in March. The award recognized Buchan and the department’s efforts to provide an outstanding benefit to the entire community.
“Renee spent countless hours developing our Adopt-a-Park Program to build community pride and ownership around every park and facility in the City of Idaho Falls,” said Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation Director PJ Holm. “Launching in the spring of 2022 and thanks to Renee’s hard work and the efforts by thousands of volunteers in our community, the program has seen tremendous success.”
With the Adopt-a-Park program, people and organizations volunteer to participate in the continued upkeep and beautification of their favorite Idaho Falls park. Once signed up, park adoptees commit to volunteering and caring for the park for 12 months from the date of adoption, with at least one service day a month.
“In 2022, the Parks and Recreation Department faced a labor shortage felt by industries across the board. At the city, we believe the success of the parks system depends on the support, advocacy and enthusiasm of community volunteers. This program helped offset the labor shortage and we hope it will continue to make our community spaces a better place for all,” Holm said.
Through the Adopt-a-Park program, the city seeks to find the best practices and strategies to work together in enhancing the parks system. This includes routine and essential maintenance of the park and litter cleanup. Volunteers have also had the chance to work on larger projects such as painting facilities, caring for playgrounds and specialized maintenance.
During the first year of the Adopt-a-Park program, seven parks were adopted, allowing hundreds of park acres to receive care and maintenance through volunteers. Additionally, thousands of other volunteers put in thousands of hours to make our community a better place to live.
“Renee did a fantastic job seeing an opportunity, developing this program and establishing a sustainable way for volunteers to enjoy their local parks in new meaningful ways. We are excited to see this program grow in 2023 and beyond,” Holm said.
Those interested in Adopting a Park or volunteering can learn more by visiting the Parks and Recreation webpage HERE or at www.ifrec.org.
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Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact City of Idaho Falls Public Information Officer Eric Grossarth at (208) 612-8562.