Publish Date
McKinley Park Nature Trail
McKinley Park Nature Trail.
Photo: Chicago Park District
Archery in the parks.
Archery in the parks.
Photo: Chicago Park District
Big Marsh Park Trails.
Big Marsh Park Trails.
Photo: Chicago Park District

One of three Chicago parks has the chance to receive $20,000 through ‘Meet Me at the Park’ Earth Month Campaign

[Chicago, IL., March 29, 2018] – For the fourth year in a row, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is collaborating with The Walt Disney Company — including Disney|ABC Television Group and ESPN — to help fund local park improvement projects in 16 U.S. cities through the national “Meet Me at the Park” Earth Month campaign, including a park right here in Chicago. Through the “Meet Me at the Park” Earth Month campaign, an initiative that gives back to these places that shape so much of our lives, one of three local parks will receive a $20,000 grant and Chicago residents get to choose which one.
Our local parks make Chicago a better place to live. Parks are essential to our community’s health and wellbeing as they provide safe places to get active, enjoy nature, preserve the environment and bring people together. That’s why from April 1 to April 30 Chicago residents will have the opportunity to help one of three park projects receive $20,000 in grant funding to make improvements. The projects are: 

•    Expansion of Archery Across Multiple Chicago Parks: The sport of archery is growing and is particularly popular because it links competition, sports and nature together. The Chicago Park District wants to expand the offering of Junior Olympic Archery to 4 additional parks.

•    Big Marsh Trail Expansion: Big Marsh is a 278 acre park in on Chicago's south side. This project will provide additional multi-use trails for hikers and bikers to enjoy, explore and experience more pathways through the park's natural areas.

•    Nature Trails at McKinley Park: McKinley Park recently expanded their natural area with larger community support. Funds will be used for trail development which will improve access and enjoyment for all park visitors.

By visiting, park supporters can vote daily for their favorite park project. Voters can also text the word PARKS to 31279 and receive a link to vote online.* At the end of April, the park project with the most votes will receive grant funding. Everyone who votes will be entered into a drawing for a GoPro Prize Pack. 

“The Chicago Park District is pleased to have been selected to participate in this nationwide initiative that helps connect kids with nature, promote healthy habits and provide access to recreational opportunities,” said Michael P. Kelly, General Superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Park District. “We invite everyone to vote for their favorite project and help support the addition of a great amenity to our park system.”

“At NRPA we believe everyone deserves a great park. That’s why we’re proud to collaborate with The Walt Disney Company on this campaign,” said Lori Robertson, NRPA Director of Conservation. “Everyone is encouraged to join us in giving back to the places that shape so much of our lives by participating in this year’s campaign. A vote for your favorite park is all it takes.”  

During April, a public service announcement (PSA) supporting the Meet Me at the Park Earth Month campaign will be shared with audiences across Disney, including ESPN, ABC Television Network, ABC-owned and affiliate stations, Freeform, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Radio Disney, the ABC Watch app and other platforms. The PSA will also be available to view on the voting site at Additionally, Radio Disney will support the campaign with an on-air radio spot.

Last year, Chicago voted for the Welles Park Nature Play Space project to get $20,000. With that funding, the community is now able to enjoy an open play space, full of hidden nooks, climbing challenges, buzzing wildlife and elements of fun at Welles Park. The area will also be utilized for nature programming for residents of all ages. This year, resident votes will help improve another one of Chicago’s great parks. Part of a $1.5 million investment from The Walt Disney Company, the Meet Me at the Park program supports NRPA and Disney’s combined goal of providing one million kids and families with greater access to play. 

This Earth Month, show how parks invigorate your community and vote to improve local parks right here in Chicago. Encourage your friends to vote too by taking a selfie in your favorite park and using the hashtags #MeetMeAtThePark, #Parkies and #CelebrateEarth. 

For more information and to vote, visit

*Standard message and data rates may apply. Both promotions (defined below) begin at 12 a.m. ET on April 1, 2018 and conclude at 11:59 p.m. ET on April 30, 2018. No Purchase Necessary to participate. The NRPA Meet Me at the Park Promotion and Voter’s Sweepstakes (collectively, “promotions”) are open to legal residents of the 50 US & DC, who are 18 years of age or older. For complete details and Official Rules for both promotions, visit

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The Chicago Park District is the 2014 Gold Medal Award winner, recognized for excellence in park and recreation management across the nation. For more information about the Chicago Park District’s more than 8,300 acres of parkland, more than 600 parks, 26 miles of lakefront, 12 museums, two world-class conservatories, 16 historic lagoons, nearly 50 nature areas, thousands of special events, sports and entertaining programs, please visit or contact the Chicago Park District at 312/742.PLAY or 312/747.2001 (TTY). Want to share your talent? Volunteer in the parks by calling, 312/742.PLAY.

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of nearly 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit