The money will help the nonprofit fund its ongoing health initiatives
Timucuan Parks Foundation, the non-profit supporter of Jacksonville’s state and national parks and the city preservation parks, has received a $5,000 grant from REI Co-op. TPF will be using the grant to help fund its Healthy Living: Fresh Air, Fitness, Friendship and Fun program designed to reach non-traditional and diverse audiences to show them how outdoor recreation in preservation parks can benefit everyone both mentally and physically.
“Throughout the year, we host walks and events in our ‘wilderness’ parks and preserves for different age groups and organizations,” said Felicia Boyd, program and outreach director for TPF. “This grant will help us to address health and equity issues and allow us to work alongside our park partners and other organizations to provide more programming opportunities to historically underrepresented audiences.”
The Healthy Living program was created to serve those who may not know about the preservation parks and the health benefits that being outdoors can provide. TPF’s program targets groups including seniors, veterans, women, urban teens, and youth with special needs. The organization puts together a variety of events that are specifically programmed for each of the groups.
For seniors, the walks are done in partnership with AARP and focus on the therapeutic effects a walk in nature can provide, including combating loneliness, isolation and depression that some seniors can experience. The events designed for veterans are done in partnership with the VA and the “MOVE” weight-loss program and showcase how a walk can provide de-stressing benefits. TPF partners with the North Florida Trail Blazers of the Florida Trail Association to get more women out on the trails, including “Beginning Hiking: Women Only” hikes for women of all ages.
TPF also partners with youth organizations, including the Groundwork Green Team Summer Youth Corps and the North Florida School of Special Education. This summer, TPF and their park partners will host urban teens and youth with special needs for kayaking, hiking, fishing, and service-learning projects in the Timucuan Preserve, Dutton Island Preserve, Kingsley Plantation, Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park, and American Beach.
REI is a member-owned co-op and invests deeply in the outdoor community, supporting efforts that steward and maintain local trails and public lands and connect underrepresented groups to the outdoors.