The Kodak American Greenways Awards Program awarded Hawthorne the grant because of its innovative attempts to develop trails that will promote environmental education. Hawthorne will be showcased as a national model for its original efforts of developing greenways.
The Conservation Fund, which is a recognized leader in working with local communities to expand the nation’s network of linked open spaces, provides grants of up to $2,500 to nonprofit organizations and government agencies to help develop new greenway projects. Nearly $900,000 has been granted to over 700 organizations in all 50 states since the program’s inception in 1989.
Hawthorne is one of the 21 groups nationwide honored this year. Sam Wynkoop, the parks and recreation director for Hawthorne, said Little Orange Creek Nature Park was chosen because of the mix of recreation and environmental education.
“These funds will help develop the trail system that we have in the park. We want to have the park open so that everyone can enjoy it, whether they live in Hawthorne or are just visiting,” he said.
The park is not currently open to the public because facilities on the property are not ready, Wynkoop said. The city acquired the property in May, but there is a house on the land that is not up to public code.
Wynkoop said this house will eventually be converted to an environmental center to educate the public on the wildlife found in the park. There are plans to have informative kiosks throughout the trail, as well as guided tours to educate visitors about the landscape and wildlife in the park.
“It is important to preserve the natural environment not only for us, but also for future generations,” Wynkoop said.
The trail will be ADA-approved and accessible to handicapped visitors. Although this type of trail is more expensive, Wynkoop said the grant will help get the park open to the public within the end of the year.
Larry Selzer, the Conservation Fund’s president, said this year’s award winners represent some of the best grassroots conservation and greenway development efforts in the United States.
“The fund is proud to support these thoughtful, action-oriented local initiatives that will serve as models for other communities around the country.”
The Kodak American Greenway Awards Grants Review Committee consists of conservation experts from around the country. They selected grant recipients from a pool of nearly 200 qualified applicants.
The awards are made possible by generous support from the Eastman Kodak Company. Gilbert Grosvenor, the chairman emeritus of the National Geographic Society, said the greenways network has linked city streets to parklands and other open spaces with the help of companies like Kodak.
“Greenways not only improve the nation’s ecological health, but these natural corridors provide vital opportunities for all Americans to get out, exercise and improve their physical health,” he said.Add a comment