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The GCA’s Initiative: PARKS: Where Nature Meets Community


February 10, 2022

Celebrating the Bicentennial Anniversary of Frederick Law Olmsted’s Birth

Garden Club of America member clubs’ interest in the revolutionary vision and enduring legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American Landscape Architecture, continues as GCA clubs across the country are actively engaged in the GCA’s initiative PARKS: Where Nature Meets Community. This exciting GCA celebration began in April of 2021 and continues through June of 2022.

As we enter the new year, the GCA is impressed with how this national initiative has encouraged and inspired GCA member clubs to actively participate by identifying a civic improvement project within their communities and to engage in the national conversation on the importance of stewardship for our public parks and open spaces. Frederick Law Olmsted’s career spanned over half a century. He designed some of the most beautiful and significant landscapes in America and April 26, 2022 marks the bicentennial of his birth.

The GCA has the unprecedented opportunity to tie the current needs of GCA member clubs’ communities to Olmsted’s revolutionary work in parks and public landscapes by participating in the GCA initiative. Nearly 18,000 club members in 199 clubs within the twelve geographic GCA zones are encouraged to focus on Olmsted’s enduring legacy during this celebration year. PARKS projects include all public open spaces or community parks and are not limited to Olmsted designed spaces. It was his democratic vision that all have equal access to parks for their enjoyment and restorative value of time spent with nature. 

GCA member clubs share their projects with other members. The wide and inspiring diversity of PARKS projects include new pollinator gardens, tree planting, weed and invasive plant removal, adding native plantings, park site restoration, community education, at-risk parks advocacy, and much more. 

The Garden Club of America is a proud founding partner of Olmsted 200, the national bicentennial celebration, together with the National Association for Olmsted Parks (NAOP) and eight other distinguished organizations. This collaboration works together and shares information to further encourage and preserve the enduring legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted. 

The GCA’s goal is to contribute to this historic Olmsted celebration with their nationwide initiative PARKS: Where Nature Meets Community, many cities, towns, and community public spaces will be improved for all, now and well into the future. This will further encourage community and togetherness as well as create places for solace and aesthetic pleasure. 200 years later, the GCA has created a project to ensure that Olmsted’s gift to our country is carried on and never forgotten. 

The GCA's Garden History & Design Committee is charged with overseeing, supporting, and promoting this important initiative and working together with the Olmsted 200 organization.The committee’s mission is to use photography and research, the study of good design practices, educational and lecture programs, and internships to develop an appreciation of America's gardens. The committee works closely with the Smithsonian Institution's Archives of American Gardens in Washington, DC to document cultivated gardens throughout the country. 


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