The Friends of Hairston Park received a $50,000 matched funds grant in December 2020 from Park Pride to realize the Mindfulness Project. This wonderful project will activate underused parts of the park with inviting amenities. Many thanks to Gwendolyn Stegall and her team for their heartfelt commitment and diligence to our community.
The project will:
● Create a Serenity Garden. We will clear a one-third mile winding path through a wooded area that is easily accessible from the parking lot and built environment. We will plant three native plant shade gardens, and near these spots will be a comfortable bench. We will have discrete signs with inspirational quotes that prompt people to seek solace in nature, meditate, and experience awe.
● Provide directional and educational signs. The directional signs will point people to the Serenity Garden path, helping them feel invited and safe in their exploration. The educational signs will describe the trees, plants, birds, and wildlife in the park.
● Place three pergolas with benches (one handicap-accessible) near the large lake. These will be visible from the parking lot and draw people to the lovely water scene.
● Place three picnic tables in the woods across from the pavilion (to be built soon). The pavilion is small, and this will provide overflow seating as well as a more private and rustic experience.
Spending time in nature, especially for urban and suburban residents, is a proven way to reduce anxiety and improve a sense of well-being. It fosters curiosity in children. It gives people fresh air and natural spaces to stretch their legs.
The Mindfulness Project will foster peace, tranquility, and inclusion through the enjoyment of nature. At this time in our history, we face heartbreaking loss, social injustice, and bitter divisiveness. Inviting people into a natural space where they will feel safe and find solace is essential. The Mindfulness Project provides a remedy that is essential to our very beings. It represents a piece of the beloved community that Martin Luther King, Jr., envisioned, a place where all people can share in the wealth of the earth.