Think you can tell Edgewood Park from College Woods? East Rock Park from West Rock Park? Your skills are about to be put to the test.
Throughout July, to celebrate national Park and Recreation Month, the city parks department will be publishing a photo of a different park on its Facebook page each day. Whoever identifies the most parks will win a bike, as part of a month-long social media push to get people outside enjoying New Haven’s natural splendor.
City officials announced that news at a Monday press conference, as kids shrieked and cavorted in the splash pad nearby in ... you guessed it: Lighthouse Point Park.
Monday was opening day for the city’s summer camps, the beginning of a busy season for the parks department, which is also gearing up for this weekend’s July 4th celebration.
New Haven has over 2,000 acres of park land, comprising nearly a fifth of the city, Mayor Toni Harp said Monday. The parks system promotes health and wellness, teaches people about nature, and provides for the “rejuvenation” of community spirit, she said.
Rebecca Bombero, acting head of the parks department, announced the details of July’s social media push. The city will post a photo of a park every day, with a clue to the park’s identity. There will be occasional surprise giveaways all month long, taking place at the park pictured in that day’s post. Giveaways could include pizza or popsicles or parks department memorabilia.
People are encouraged to use Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram all month to share their experiences using the hashtag “#NewHavenParks.”
At the end of the month, the parks department will give away four bikes, one each to: the 1,000th person to “like” the parks department on Facebook, the person who guesses the highest number of the daily park-picture-puzzles, the person who posts the picture of a park that gets the most likes, and a random person who shares the department’s social media messages.
Meanwhile, the city will have 15 different camps going on, with 600 kids, said parks Deputy Director Bill Dixon. Kids can learn SCUBA diving, kayaking, trail hiking, and more.
He said the parks department is also girding itself for the upcoming 4th of July weekend, when thousands descend on Lighthouse Point Park from as far as Massachusetts and New York. Dixon said he’ll have extra staff on duty, and extra portable toilets.