Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space (FoHVOS, has been awarded a $5,000 Franklin Parker grant from New Jersey Conservation Foundation (NJCF) to enhance proficiency in land conservation, develop long-term viable programs, and design creative, innovative projects that can serve as a model for other communities and projects. FoHVOS is the fiscal sponsor for the Outdoor Equity Alliance (OEA), which will use the award in its mission “to create experiences that inform and inspire people of all ages, ethnicities, and income levels to enjoy nature and the outdoors.”
“We are grateful for NJCF seeing the vision of the OEA as more than worthwhile. Their generosity shows that they are partnering with the vision and commitment that we have for conservation, preservation, agriculture, and community. These funds allow us to not only continue our existing programs but to improve on them, furthering our reach to more people with environmental education, experiences and vocational opportunities, said Renata Barnes, OEA Coordinator, exclaiming: “Nature for all!”
The Franklin Parker grants aim to strengthen proficiency in land conservation, develop long-term viable programs, and create projects that serve as a model for other communities and projects. This year, NJCF awarded a total of $30,000 in eight grants to provide essential resources to nonprofit organizations addressing environmental challenges by improving the quality of life for people in communities of colors in New Jersey.
For FoHVOS, the grant will support the OEA’s Agrihood internship project. This internship was developed by Barnes, a Hopewell resident, to provide high school age interns, particularly those living in urban areas, with an opportunity to get hands-on experience and learn to think critically about environmental stewardship, urban agriculture and social wellbeing.
About the awards for all the recipients of the Franklin Park grant, Jay Watson, the foundation’s co-executive director said: “These organizations are providing important land conservation, stewardship and educational programs serving communities of color and we are pleased to support them with funding to improve quality of life in these communities. These grants are part of New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s commitment to protecting land and providing nature in all areas of the state — urban, suburban and rural.”
Underrepresented communities in New Jersey face disproportionate hardships resulting from impacts of climate change and environmental degradation. Increasing access to green spaces in urban areas provides health and environmental benefits. Green spaces keep surrounding areas cooler, clean the air and water, and make urban areas more resilient to extreme weather from climate change, such as heat waves, floods and wildfires. Additionally, people with safe access to parks and trails exercise more and are generally healthier.
To learn more about the Franklin Parker Community Conservation Grants, its previous awards, and mission visit njconservation.org/franklin-parker-grants/
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