The Minneapolis-St. Paul “Twin Cities” metropolitan region is home to a system of regional parks that are nationally renowned for their beauty, size, and variety of features. The Metropolitan Council (the Council) is the regional policy-making body, planning agency, and provider of essential services for the Twin Cities metropolitan region. The Council has published recent qualitative research on Youth & Parks that highlights the opportunity to increase park use among youth. Their research is also concerned with the parks’ role in building civic capacity for youth. The Council has identified schools as a potential connector between youth and parks. A relationship between schools and park implementing agencies can serve the goals of both organizations. There is an extensive literature on the health and development benefits of park use. By working with schools, implementing agencies can help them capitalize on the park system as a resource for student well-being. At the same time, implementing agencies benefit in the short term by creating park master plans that reflect the perspectives of youth and in the long term by inspiring a generation of citizens to become life-long advocates of the park system.
This report synthesizes literature and case studies to provide recommendations for park implementing agency staff, park planners, and school staff seeking to build relationships to engage youth in the park master planning process. Three regional park implementing agencies in the metro area were contacted for in-depth interviews to identify current barriers and strategies to most effectively engage with schools to bring youth to the parks and into the planning process. In order to provide implementing agency and school staff something tangible to use in their engagement with youth, the project team
created a sample lesson plan suitable for the classroom setting. Implementing agency staff who are working to form relationships with a school can use this lesson plan to begin that partnership with a teacher or administrator. It can also be used in the context of an already existing relationship and can
add structure to ongoing youth engagement efforts by the parks.
Capstone paper for the fulfillment of the Master of Public Policy degree.
Callaghan, Bridget; Lund, Mike; Vega Vega, Diana.
County Park Agency & School District Connection: Developing Civic Infrastructure to Support Youth and the Regional Park System.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.