The Roanoke Parks and Recreation Department works hard to bring quality parks and programming to the region, and that includes monitoring industry trends and highlighting our natural resources to encourage residents to enjoy our open spaces and try something new. We are pleased to announce that our efforts have not gone unnoticed! Our department was recently recognized twice by National Park and Recreation Association (NRPA) for our programming and stunning parks.
During a Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga class at Carvins Cove, Jayson Firebaugh of Star City SkyCams took amazing drone footage of the activity and the scenery. We entered one of the photos into an NRPA photo contest, and it was chosen for their annual calendar (and for January no less!). While we cannot take credit for the photo, part of the contest criteria was to highlight our creative programming and people enjoying themselves during a department event; SUP Yoga at the Cove is always a favorite! You can view the calendar here and even download one if you’re interested.
Our department was also recognized in the November issue of Parks & Recreation magazine, the NRPA monthly publication. In its article “How Parks and Recreation Can Support Mental Health Initiatives,” Roanoke Parks and Recreation is specifically mentioned for our Forest Bathing program. Forest Bathing is a guided walk through nature where participants are encouraged to practice mindfulness exercises by focusing on their senses (the smells, sights, sounds, and touch) while engaging with the outdoors. This method encourages the participant to relax and be present in the moment. According to the article, these mindfulness exercises are “common treatments for anxiety and mental health disorders.” In our particular program, we collaborate with Carilion Clinic to do blood pressure readings before and after the activity; all of the participants experienced a drop in blood pressure by the end of the program. Our department recognizes the important role we play in our community, and that includes focusing on public health initiatives.
We are honored to be recognized nationally by our peers and will continue to strive for excellence in our programming and services. We are always looking for new ways to engage with the public and bring new, fun activities to the people of Roanoke, so if you have an idea, please submit it in the form below or give us a call at 540-853-2236.