Wilderness Louisville, community partners bring two new shelters to Jefferson Memorial Forest
Two new program shelters - the result of a major fundraising effort from Wilderness Louisville and with the support of various local businesses – were dedicated today at Jefferson Memorial Forest in honor of Earth Day and Mayor Greg Fischer’s Give A Day week of service.
Board members from Wilderness Louisville, the non-profit organization supporting Jefferson Memorial Forest and Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation’s Natural Areas Division, were joined by students from Mercy Academy, District 13 Councilwoman Vicki Welch, Forest staff and representatives from local businesses today to cut the ribbons on the two new 1,000-square-foot shelters.
Wilderness Louisville raised approximately $24,000 in cash and in-kind contributions from individual donors, as well as with critical support from Irving Materials Inc. (IMI), Louisville Gas & Electric Co., the Dixie Highway Lowe’s store, Spencer Concrete, United Parcel Service, Fairdale Dairy Queen, Fairdale Cash Saver, and YouthBuild Louisville, an education, job training and leadership program for young adults in Louisville.
The funding was matched with $30,000 from Louisville Metro Government. Individual donations were received through a crowd-funding campaign, as well as public events at the Forest, including the annual Forest Fest Bluegrass festival, and the Fall Hike and Outdoor Adventure.
“This is exactly the kind of can-do spirit that makes Give A Day so special,” said Mayor Greg Fischer, thanking Wilderness Louisville Inc. and its partners and volunteers for their work. “A compassionate city can do big things, and these new shelters are evidence of that.”
Wilderness Louisville Inc. was incorporated in June of 2013 and envisions Louisville’s natural areas as world-class destinations for all citizens and visitors to enjoy.
To realize this vision, Wilderness Louisville’s mission is to strengthen natural areas, including Jefferson Memorial Forest, by creating, restoring and stewarding these assets to promote economic development, educate and unite a diverse community of families, volunteers and advocates, and provide equitable opportunities for all citizens and visitors to experience nature.
“Wilderness Louisville is thrilled to support the thousands of students and families who will have a more comfortable place to learn, relax and experience the wonder and beauty of Jefferson Memorial Forest. The new shelters represent not only a much-needed amenity at the Forest, but a shared experience for Forest visitors from across the city,” said Theresa Zawacki, chair of Wilderness Louisville’s Board of Directors and Senior Policy Advisor to Metro Government’s Louisville Forward.
“I’m proud of the Board’s first major accomplishment and the community’s support for this project, and look forward to many more opportunities to bring diverse partners together to support efforts that allow more people to experience nature,” Zawacki said.
Lynn Rippy, executive director of YouthBuild Louisville and Vice Chair of the Wilderness Louisville Board, said her non-profit volunteers completely embraced the project and were excited to see it through to completion.
“YouthBuild students and staff had an awesome experience building the shelters in the Forest,” she said. “They didn’t want to come back in the afternoons, they were so happy out in nature. It helped them to understand the importance the shelters would play in the lives of the children and families they will serve.”
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ABOUT LOUISVILLE METRO PARKS AND RECREATION:
Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation, a nationally accredited parks and recreation agency, manages 120 parks and six parkways on more than 13,000 acres of land, and operates recreation programs for all ages. Its mission is to create a City of Parks where people can play, learn, grow and be healthy. The mission is accomplished by taking care of all parks properties and creating new ones, by providing safe and diverse recreational programs, and by protecting our public lands and resources for future generations. www.bestparksever.com
ABOUT WILDERNESS LOUISVILLE:
Wilderness Louisville is the 501c3 non-profit supporting Jefferson Memorial Forest and the Metro Parks’ Natural Areas Division. The group envisions that Louisville’s natural areas are a world-class destination for all citizens and visitors to enjoy. To realize this vision, Wilderness Louisville’s mission is to: strengthen natural areas including Jefferson Memorial Forest by creating, restoring and stewarding these assets to promote economic development, educate and unite a diverse community of families, volunteers and advocates, and provide equitable opportunities for all citizens and visitors to experience nature.
Incorporated in 2013, it is one of the five non-profits, alongside the Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Louisville Parks Foundation, Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Landing, Inc. Foundation, and Historic Locust Grove, Inc. that raise funds in support of improvements to the wonderful system of public parks and open space managed by Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation. More information can be found at www.wildernesslouisville.org.