by Emily Barber
Buffalonians never hesitate to seize the opportunity to celebrate our city’s rich history and promising future with pride. Next year, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy is sending an extended invitation to the rest of the nation and our friends across the globe to join them in celebration of their 150th anniversary.
A Brief History Lesson
The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy is the first nonprofit organization in the nation to manage and operate an entire historic urban park system that consists of 850 acres of beautifully designed parks, parkways and circles.
Frederick Law Olmsted is America’s first and greatest landscape architect. His system of parks and parkways in Buffalo is the first of its kind and represents one of his largest bodies of work. It was here that Olmsted designed his first system of parks and parkways and proclaimed Buffalo to be, “the best designed city in the country, if not the world.”
An Expanding Reach
The Buffalo Olmsted Parks’ sesquicentennial year is a new-to-the-state special event and landmark opportunity for storytelling and celebration. But its reach and significance stretch beyond just one year. This milestone marks an opportunity for an aspirational awareness campaign to recognize the nation’s first urban parks system with a focus on its rich legacy, present day and future promise.
The anniversary also marks a chance to spotlight a significant pride point for past, current and future Western New York residents, affect cultural tourism in the region and to tell an impactful narrative about the role Olmsted Parks plays in Buffalo’s renaissance, curb appeal and quality of life – connecting with audiences in WNY and nationwide.
Where I Come In
On July 28, 2017 I pressed, “submit” with confidence, finalizing a Market New York grant application requesting marketing funds from New York State on behalf of The Olmsted Parks Conservancy for their 150th anniversary. Market New York is a grant program established to strengthen tourism and attract visitors to New York State by promoting destinations, attractions and special events.
My involvement working for Upper Edge Consulting and writing grants for nonprofits enables me feel like I have a direct impact doing something positive for our community. Collaborating with the Olmsted Parks Conservancy has been a truly enriching experience. Learning about the significance of the parks and their benefit to our community enabled me to become very close to this project. Writing grants can be arduous at times, but this process was both intriguing and exciting.
Did You Know…
More than 1 million people use Buffalo’s historic, award-winning Olmsted Park System annually for recreation, relaxation and rejuvenation. A growing body of literature has recently documented the importance of parks to the health and wealth of a city.
The Olmsted Parks serve as the lungs of Buffalo, crucial for reducing air pollution and enhancing water quality. The Center for Disease Control reports that when people live near parks their physical activity increases by 25% and promotes feelings of good health. Research supports that well-kept and high quality urban parks bring financial resources and economic revitalization.
With this major event approaching, there is no better time than now to support your parks. Click here to browse The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy’s website and make a donation.