Today, I planted daffodils at Overton Square Park. While it was a little cold and windy, the park will be filled with colorful flowers by spring. Volunteers and employees at the Overton Park Conservancy sacrificed a warm Saturday morning by the fire to dig through the mud and plant some seeds. The non-profit organization was started by a man who saw a need for extra care and attention at Overton Park. Since the organization began two years ago, they have built several new restroom facilities, a dog park and planted a variety of flowers and trees. The conservancy attempts to plant new life about every six months.
Employees of the organization recruit volunteers from the city of Memphis and the all over the country. They post volunteer opportunities and advertisements for their organization online. Recently, a group from Michigan searching for volunteer opportunities in the field of conservancy contacted the organization to set up a time to come visit Memphis and volunteer at the park. Several of the volunteers I worked in the soil in other areas of the park. Other people who came to dig held a love for plant-life and were excited to better the park in their city.
The organization draws their funding from individuals, foundations, various grants and a large scope of fundraising. You may learn about the various Overton Park Conservancy fundraising events on their web site. Employees purchase the majority of their plants from a local nursery. The conservancy has taken over some of the management duties the city originally held. In 2011, the Memphis City Council approved a 10-year management agreement with the conservancy. The OPC has been given authority to manage 184 acres of public parkland. OPC and the city are working together to improve the park’s amenities and cleanliness.
Aside from attending a concert at The Levitt Shell, I had not previously visited Overton Park. After a couple of hours at the park, my eyes were opened to its many great benefits, walking trails, playgrounds and bike trails. Many Memphians might not be aware of all the extra work and funds that the conservancy puts into the park. I was impressed to learn of all the improvements completed at the park within only two years.
OPC has made Overton Park more enjoyable for all its visitors. Go for a walk and take advantage of the park’s amenities. It is located off Poplar Avenue just past The Levitt Shell and The Memphis Zoo. If you would like to volunteer or donate to the conservancy, you may sign up online.
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