A partnership between a leading national grocery chain and a natural charity is helping to convert parks into pesticide-free zones that are safer for pet owners.
Natural Grocers teamed up with Beyond Pesticides – a nonprofit based in Washington DC – to fund the transition of parks across the country into organic spaces free of pesticide products.
Under the ‘Ladybug Love Our Neighborhoods’ Campaign, 13 parks across nine different locations around the country are already marked for the transition. Some already have work underway.
Why Do Pesticide-Free Parks Matter?
Many parks throughout the US use synthetic pesticides and fertilizers to minimize pests and control weeds.
These products can harm pets when inhaled, absorbed through the skin, or ingested. They can be considered poisonous, leading to symptoms such as drooling, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. There is some evidence that pesticides may lead to increased instances of cancer in dogs, but that is still being studied.
While some pesticides are low-risk, especially once applied to plant life, some can be life-threatening when used alongside other common chemicals and insecticides.
With parks serving as one of the most popular places for pet owners to walk their animals, the project to remove harmful pesticides can benefit their health, removing the risk of toxicity.
And it’s not just dog owners that benefit. There is a growing trend for cat owners to walk their cats as a safer way of exposing them to nature without letting them wander freely.
Avondale Park and Mack Park
Two of the locations selected for the safe parks project are in Denton, Texas – just north of Dallas and Fort Worth. Avondale Park features a number of sporting facilities used by local children, along with a pavilion, a concrete trail, and a picnic area.
Mack Park is a larger park with multiple playgrounds, a lighted baseball field, and many large grass spaces popular with dog- and cat-walkers. So Ragdoll cat owners could walk their cats here without worrying about the harm of pesticides.
Burgin Hill Park and Midway City Park
The second city nominated for the project is Midway, UT – 40 miles southwest of Salt Lake City. Two sites have been earmarked. Burgi Hill Park has various facilities, including an off-leash dog park and a paved walking trail. At the same time, Midway City Cemetery is also used by pet owners.
Chief Garry Park
The smallest park to be transformed organically is Chief Garry Park in Spokane, WA, named after Chief Spokane Garry. The park measures just one block by four, but it remains an important place for local events and for pet owners in the area.
The renovations in Chief Garry Park aim to serve as a pilot project so that other, larger parks in the region will follow suit.
Community Park and McCormick Park
Missoula is a city in western Montana that has chosen two sites to transition to an organic, pesticide-free park. This includes McCormick Park, the most popular park in the city and host to green spaces used by dog walkers and several school summer camps.
The second location is Community Park in the downtown corridor. This park is also popular with residents, including those walking their pets. The move to get rid of pesticides in the area will increase safety for animals and humans alike.
Oregon is one of two states to receive support for two cities as part of the project. Eugene is the first location to benefit. The 7.8-acre park is smaller than the nearby Golden Gardens Park but is being targeted as a pilot project.
Along with the walking trails and natural areas used by pet walkers, there are various playing fields and a picnic area that will benefit from a shift to organic fertilizers.
The second location chosen in Oregon is Island Park in downtown Springfield. Dog owners widely use this park for pet walks, and with more cat owners nationwide looking into walking their cats, it remains an essential spot for local animals.
The park is also popular with non-pet owners, and it has a kid’s playground and large open play areas. Pesticides can affect children and other humans similarly to pets, so the transition is vital for all.
Reid Park and Silverlake Fields
Arizona is benefitting the most from the early stages of the project, with three parks moving to more organic plant products and away from synthetic pesticides. Two are in Tucson – the 156-acre Gene C. Reid Park and the 51-acre Silverlake Park Athletic Field.
Both parks have a vast number of uses. They are popular areas for people to walk their pets, with many walking paths and multipurpose fields.
Work has already begun to convert Roosevelt Park in Longmont, a small town situated an hour north of Denver. Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are being eliminated from the park as it converts to using only organic products.
The park is popular with the local community and features several paved and green spaces used by dog owners in the area to walk their pets. And cat owners can take their cats outdoors in this park as well.
Tempe Sports Complex
The Tempe Sports Complex is the final park chosen as part of the initial stages of the Organic Parks Project. It is the third park in Arizona. Situated in Tempe, the park is primarily for sports, including softball and seven athletic fields.
However, a 2-acre dog park will benefit heavily from the shift away from harmful pesticides.
These are the initial parks, towns, and cities that will benefit from the project, but they will likely be expanded further across the nation in the future.
This article was produced by Floppycats and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Jenny is the founder of Floppycats.com, a website dedicated to uniting (Ragdoll) cat lovers worldwide. Since 2008, Jenny’s no bull-crap and honest approach to cat care helps cat owners live more harmoniously with their kitties.