Arlington Parks and Recreation Wins Pair of Region Awards
By Arlington Parks & Recreation
Posted on December 12, 2023, December 12, 2023

Parks and Recreation Department receives TRAPS Award

The City of Arlington Parks and Recreation Department was honored by the Texas Recreation and Park Society (TRAPS) North region with a pair of awards at its annual awards ceremony on Dec. 6, in Las Colinas.

Arlington’s GLOW (Growing Leaders in Outdoor Wilderness) Girls won the 2023 TRAPS North Lone Star Programming award. GLOW Girls is an outdoor education program geared towards young females, ages 8-12, who hail from socioeconomically disadvantaged areas in Arlington. The goal of this program is to give 20 young girls from urban areas an opportunity to experience life outside their typical environment. The skill acquisition in this program aids with confidence building, cognitive and emotional stimulation and positively influencing the next generation of environmental stewards. GLOW Girls is free of charge, thanks to a grant from Texas Parks & Wildlife, making outdoor recreation accessible to those with limited access.

With the goal to create young stewards, GLOW Girls began as weekend workshops for participants to set a foundation for a skillset that would grow as participants continued through the program. Topics such as outdoor cooking, geocaching, orienteering, and fishing paved the way for a weeklong summer camp in July. Taking those learned skills, campers learned even more about outdoor activities like kayaking, nature photography, crafts, rock climbing, and hiking.

With trips to different state parks as well as the Arlington Pollinator Garden and an interactive presentation by the Tarrant Regional Water District, participants gained the knowledge and the confidence to lead a trail clean-up at Mineral Wells State Park in August and attend a weekend camping trip to Fort Richardson State Park. Thanks to the grant from TPWD, GLOW Girls will continue into the spring with a community partner led ziplining trip, workshops, and another weekend camping trip.

Group of GLOW Girls campers and leaders standing on deck overlooking lake

The Friends of Arlington’s Unique Natural Areas (FAUNA) was named Advocate of the Year by the TRAPS North Region. This group works tirelessly in a variety of ways to keep Arlington natural areas native. This group is made up of other “Friends Of” groups for consistency in conservation efforts across Arlington's 99 square miles. This collective group works many volunteer hours, gives back with events for our citizens, and has a passion for nature to never be forgotten.

FAUNA's contributions are many fold. At some locations in Arlington's park system they focus on removing invasive species, mainly Chinese Privet. They grow native and, in some cases, rare plants to plant in park areas where invasive species once stood. They work in natural areas to cultivate and weed to encourage native plants to reestablish. Trail building and maintenance in natural areas to encourage citizens to engage with nature is another focus of their efforts.

FAUNA has been a strong advocate for the Parks and Recreation Department in grants and bond proposals, in helping identify the issues that we face, and in investigating ways to generate the funding necessary to carry out their efforts. Recently, APRD was the recipient of a large matching grant to help eradicate Chinese Privet. This grant was sought because of the direct efforts and concerns from FAUNA. This particular project will give the department a road map, timeline, and expected cost to eradicate Chinese Privet from all Arlington parks.

FAUNA hosts weekly volunteer work days at multiple locations, as well as larger monthly and quarterly volunteer work days. Annually, they lead many projects for the UTA Big Event, which is an annual volunteer day for UTA students. FAUNA has also contributed funds for multiple projects, such as signage for education of the public, creating pollinator gardens, and restoration of a variety of ecosystems. Members of this group have also been instrumental in helping obtain land that now serves as formal natural areas in Arlington.

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