To mark last Saturday’s 30th annual National Public Lands Day—the largest single-day volunteer event for America’s public lands—Toyota and the National Environmental Education Foundation unveiled a new project to transform Fish Trap Lake Park in West Dallas.
The three-year, $150,000 project will focus on site improvements at the park, along with increasing access to environmental education for local youth.
Representatives from NEEF, Toyota, grant partners Trinity Park Conservancy and Builders of Hope, and employees from Dallas Housing Authority and Toyota joined community members to clean up the park during the Saturday event. Attendees also learned about water quality and the different types of insects that buzz, crawl, and fly at the site.
Fish Trap Lake Park is sited on around 80 acres of land along the Trinity River just west of downtown Dallas.
“For more than 20 years, Toyota, and our partners at NEEF, have worked together to care for America’s public parks, forests, and waterways through a variety of grantmaking initiatives and events like National Public Lands Day,” Gregg Swartz, group manager of EV Infrastructure & Business Strategy at Toyota, said in a statement. “This project will improve Fish Trap Lake Park as a space for families to spend time in a safe, clean local park together, for students to connect to the natural world, and for a thriving West Dallas community at-large.”
NEEF noted that environmental pollution from nearby industrial plants has negatively impacted West Dallas residents for decades, and that Fish Trap Lake Park’s current location was part of a larger EPA Superfund site in 1991. The area was deemed successfully remediated in 2006. Today, the park sits within a block of many nonprofit and educational stakeholders, as well as four Dallas Housing Authority communities.
Working with the Trinity Park Conservancy and Builders of Hope
NEEF said it will implement the project through close partnerships with Trinity Park Conservancy—which will oversee environmental education with local youth and community volunteer events—and Builders of Hope, which will oversee community input and park events.
This community input will inform future park improvements, many of which will be completed within the three-year time frame and project scope, NEEF added.
“We’re committed to championing the Trinity River as the natural place for gathering in Dallas, and to connecting our neighbors to nature and to one another,” Tony Moore, president and CEO of Trinity Park Conservancy, said in a statement. “Pockets of nature within the urban core of our city—places like Fish Trap Lake Park—are a template for how we can all make our part of Dallas a little better, a little more special, and a little more welcoming.”
Attendees at the event added their voices to the project
During the event Satuday,, volunteers and local families participated in a ” fun macroinvertebrate activity” and kickstarted the park’s new volunteer event series. They also had the option to participate in a park assessment activity to have their voice heard about future improvements to Fish Trap Lake Park, NEEF said.
Further community input will be gathered through a series of events and meetings, a public survey, and canvassing by local nonprofit Builders of Hope, as well as collaboration with the West Dallas One neighborhood association, NEEF added.
“We’re thankful for Toyota, the national corporate sponsor of National Public Lands Day, as well as our seven federal agency partners, hundreds of state and local partners, and dozens of nonprofit organizations for helping us reach this 30-year milestone,” said Sara Espinoza, president and CEO of NEEF. “Most importantly, we’re excited to work with the community of West Dallas to improve access to the high-quality parks and trails that they—and all Americans—deserve.”
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