“Park Spark is an initiative that encourages the community to get involved, take ownership and participate in enhancing outdoor park spaces, while having a meaningful experience,” says Sara Yastremski, Parks Partner Program Supervisor for the City of Coquitlam.
In addition to simply enjoying a local park, the public can volunteer their time through a number of activities led by the Park Spark team. There’s something for everyone whether you want to help on your own, with a friend or family member, school or business.
“Whether it’s taking part in a pollinator garden planting or opting to sign up to adopt a dog park or trail, it’s about getting the community involved to take pride in their parks and trails,” Yastremski says.
Coquitlam in Bloom, sparked by Communities in Bloom – a national initiative that fosters friendly competition between Canadian communities to beautify their civic spaces – is a major focus for the Park Spark team. Hope is Growing is the 2021 competition, and Coquitlam residents are invited to plant yellow flowers to recognize the international colour of hope and then register their garden at www.hopeisgrowing.ca. Photos can be shared on social media with the hashtag #hopeisgrowing and #Coquitlam – and tag @CiBCef (Instagram) or @communitiesinbloom (Facebook). Learn more about Coquitlam in Bloom at www.coquitlam.ca/cib.
The Park Spark program has been in place for the better part of a decade fostering community spirit and pride for green space enhancements through stewardship events and initiatives. And even with the advent of public health restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has proven to be popular.
“Since people were trying to get out, stay active and healthy, and there weren’t a lot of safe opportunities, we actually saw an increase in the amount of people who have connected with us, enquiring about volunteer opportunities in our parks,” Yastremski says.
To keep up with that demand and to ensure participants remain safe, Park Spark adheres to all current public health regulations.
“But even with that, there are plenty of activities for people to get engaged in unique and creative ways,” Yastremski says. “When the pandemic hit, the city launched Coquitlam Spirit initiatives, providing safe activities to do at home or in your yard or park.”
Go to the City’s website and click on the ‘Outdoors’ section to view Park Spark’s Bloom of the Week and learn which machines help keep city parks groomed through the Marvelous Machines video series – there’s even information on where to fish, hike, walk or bike.
And as the calendar progresses further along into 2021, traditional events such as the Lights at Lafarge for the Christmas season and the Coquitlam Remembers event for Remembrance Day activities will be offered again, pending public health guidelines at the time.
For more information about Coquitlam parks volunteer opportunities, or to ask questions about the Park Spark program, visit the website at coquitlam.ca/Park-Spark.