Keep Casper Beautiful Casper, Wyoming

On October 23rd, the City of Casper opened its newest neighborhood park. The land was set aside for future park development in 1979. As the neighborhood grew around the park, it became clear that now was the time to develop the park. Children in the neighborhood didn’t have any parks that they could walk or ride their bikes to; the nearest park was on the north side of a 4 lane highway. The park was planned with only 3 trees.

Keep Casper Beautiful applied for and received a UPS Foundation grant. Because of the grant, 33 trees are now planted in the park. Trees include pear, apple, cherry, apricot, burr oak, honeylocust, fir, and walnut. Members of the local UPS management team and 35 students from a nearby elementary school (Crest Hill Elementary) planted 10 of the 33 trees. The students from grades K-5 are members of the school’s environmental club. The students were divided into groups, each one with its own UPS leader, to plant trees. UPS then treated the students to cookies and juice. Later in the day, members of the neighborhood planted the rest of the trees in their new neighborhood park. After the planting, the kids enjoyed playing on their new playground and running and playing on the new turf.

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (Indianapolis, IN)

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. (KIB) believes everyone should be given the opportunity to experience nature close to home. Turning vacant lots into beautiful parks allows neighbors to take pride in their community. Last year, KIB received a grant from the Lowe’s/KAB Community Improvement Grant program, to transform a vacant lot into a pocket park in the Bates-Hendricks neighborhood of Indianapolis, a neighborhood area sorely lacking greenspace and its benefits.

This project combined the efforts of neighbors from five streets partnering with Southeast Neighborhood Development (SEND), the Bates-Hendricks Neighborhood Association and neighborhood businesses. Bates-Hendricks leaders are committed to neighborhood renewal and to this end they launched an effort called Building Blocks.

The neighbors of Building Blocks envisioned the transformation of four adjacent vacant lots in their neighborhood into a community greenspace. They applied to KIB’s IPL Project Greenspace program, and were chosen to receive a pocket park, featuring shade and understory trees, low-maintenance landscaping and native plants, a shelter, and a designated open space for recreation.

One creative aspect of the landscaping was reusing several extremely large concrete pads that we excavated from the site’s “past life” as a utility station: these were simply too large to remove! We kept these as distinctive boundary markers on one side of the park, as a reminder of the transformation.

Community greening is one way to help empower people. With the success of this project, KIB has engaged families through greening projects, building stronger bonds with their neighbors and contributing to the vitality of their community. We look forward to working with this engaged neighborhood in the future!