World Parks Day was celebrated on Saturday 20 September, with many events taking place across the globe to celebrate the importance of parks and green spaces and the tremendous value they offer.
The 2014 event held particular importance in Australasia as part of the build-up to the ten yearly World Parks Congress in Sydney this November. In addition to their regular offering of free entry to several National Parks, several Australian parks held tours, concerts, workshops and competitions.
Tree plantings also were organised in several centres including Travis Wetlands in Christchurch, New Zealand and both Emerald Lake Park and Maranoa Gardens in Victoria, Australia.
The city of Johannesburg in South Africa marked the day by opening their new 16-million Rand inner-city Metro Park. The much-anticipated park was officially opened by Johannesburg Executive Mayor Mpho Parks Tau, and celebrations followed.
Residents flocked to the new park to witness live music, cultural dancing, and performance art. The new park has been described as a “green lung”, and includes modern features such as outdoor gym equipment with a dedicated instructor, playgrounds, an amphitheatre and the area’s first mobile Wi-Fi library.
Events were hosted throughout the world. In Europe, well over 1,000 people attended Lordshipfest at the Lordship Recreation Ground in Tottenham, UK, which featured a flower show, folk music, and instructional tours of the community gardens. Ireland’s Phoenix Park in Dublin hosts a regular World Parks Day event, and this year was no exception. The event included dance and circus performers, market stalls, and a craft village.
In the USA, the Anita C. Leight Estuary in Maryland hosted a scavenger hunt, fishing and campfire marshmallow toasting, while Washington DC hosted a ridge walk leading from the Potomac River to the Anacostia River through historic sites, finishing with a celebratory meal.