FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) — The Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Department was honored with four awards at the 2019 Arkansas Recreation and Parks Association (ARPA) Annual Conference.
The awards were: Sports Program of the Year, Natural Resource Program of the Year, Group Volunteer of the Year, and Individual Volunteer of the Year.
The Sports Program of the Year was awarded for the Yvonne Richardson Community Center (YRCC) X-Factor Homeschool PE Program. This free program served 70 homeschooled youth, ages 6 to 16, with activities such as hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, rugby, basketball, track and field, swimming, volleyball and cooking.
The program is designed to encourage healthy habits, sportsmanship, sports fundamentals, teamwork and problem-solving skills.
The Bradford Pear Tree Bounty won ARPA’s Natural Resource Program of the Year. The program was established by Parks and Recreation’s Urban Forestry Advisory Board with the goal to educate the community about invasive species.
Residents were encouraged to cut down their Bradford pear trees, for which they were rewarded by the City with the “bounty” of a native tree replacement at no cost. The program received national media recognition and was featured by USA Today and Southern Living.
The Parks and Recreation Urban Forestry Advisory Board was also recognized as ARPA’s Volunteer Group of the Year.
The seven-member advisory board is responsible for creating programs that promote the environmental benefits of trees. These programs include the Bradford Pear Tree Bounty and the Amazing Tree Program, which creates awareness of the significance of urban trees by recognizing a local tree each year for its exemplary size, growth, species, age and/or historic characteristics.
The ARPA Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Fayetteville resident Rob Reno. Rob has been an avid member of Ozark Off-Road Cycling (OORC) for many years and has contributed hundreds of volunteer hours annually toward maintaining many of Fayetteville’s mountain bike trails.
Rob specifically led four volunteer workdays repairing damage caused by heavy rain on the Last Call and Terrapin Station trails at Kessler Mountain Regional Park. With Rob’s direction, 18 volunteers worked 256 hours to repair almost 200 feet of trail and move more than 18,000 pounds of large stone.
Visit www.fayetteville-ar.gov/parks to learn more about amenities, recreation activities and volunteering opportunities.