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APRIL 2009
Greetings from Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department. Welcome to our e-newsletter for April. We invite you to enjoy spring at our many parks and nature preserves. We hope you can get out in nature, play a sport or join an activity at our recreation centers. Park and Rec wants to be your friend and your partner in fun and good health!

ONLINE VOTING NOW UNDERWAY FOR "TOP DOG" PRELIMINARY TO PEDIGREE® BARK IN THE PARK FESTIVAL PRESENTED BY FOOD LION, APRIL 25

   
 BARK! is a signature event of Park and Rec, with many great dogs to see and greet!  

The Pedigree® Bark in the Park Dog Festival presented by Food Lion is expected to draw thousands of "dogs and people they own" on April 25. Last year 13-thousand people came, most with dogs. The festival offers dog contests, entertainment, exhibits, dog products, adoptable dogs, and prizes. We have a new location this year: Metrolina Expo, 7100 Statesville Road (off I-77 near Sunset Road, exit 16). This venue has plenty of space and free parking! Admission is FREE for dogs and people. In a preliminary event…online voting is now underway among three dog photo finalists in the Top Dog Photo Contest. Voting runs until April 19 (5pm). The finalists are dogs named Brentson, Roxie, and Marley. The winner will be announced April 20. Click Here to vote or for more details.


'BE A CHAMPION' TRACK AND FIELD PROGRAM OFFERS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR YOUTH TO LEARN AND COMPETE!

Park and Rec invites youngsters, 4-18, to sign up for "Be A Champion" Track and Field Program, April 7-May 26. Twelve rec centers are organizing teams: Albemarle Road, Arbor Glen Outreach, Greenville, Hickory Grove, Methodist Home, Phillip O. Berry, Southview, St. Paul Ray of Hope, Sugaw Creek, Thomasboro, Mallard Creek, and Tuckaseegee. This a nine week program of instruction and competition in track and field for males and females. During May each team will participate in four track meets at Belk Stadium, 500 Summit Avenue, on the campus of Johnson C. Smith University. Championship meet is May 26. To register, visit any participating center. Cost is $55. Proof of age required at registration. The deadline to sign up is April 3, so hurry! Coaches and volunteers needed. For more information call Track Coach Anthony James at 336-5956.


WHAT HAVE WE BEEN DOING ALL YEAR? CHECK OUT PARK AND REC'S 2008 ANNUAL REPORT! 

   
 Ray, whose name means "Recreate All Year," greets a volunteer at the Race Playce construction project.  
 Do you know our parks hosted an estimated 4.2 million  visitors   in FY2008. Our youth athletic programs, including basketball, baseball, track and field, soccer, flag football and tennis, served 4,800 youngsters. Adult sports programs served 2,800 adults. Our nature preserves hosted more than half a million visits, and 283,000 people came to our swimming pools. We provided swim lessons to more than 3,000 youngsters. Our recreation centers served 753,000 patrons through programs, rentals and open play. Learn more in our annual report, 
Click Here.



WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE A 'PARK AMBASSADOR' AND HELP REPRESENT OUR DEPARTMENT AT A PARK OR GREENWAY?

Calling our friends who would like to help make a difference in their community... Become a Park or Greenway Ambassador! We need ambassadors at facilities all over the County and at all times of year. Make a commitment to volunteer and help. Hours are flexible. On foot or bike, help us monitor activity in parks, trails, and greenways. Greet patrons as a representative of the department. Ambassadors must commit to at least 6 months as an ambassador. Click Here  for more information



     
 PHOTOGS INVITED TO CAPTURE BEAUTY OF PARK AND REC IN 2008-09 "NATURE OF MECKLENBURG" CONTEST AND EXHIBITION

Partners for Parks and the Carolinas' Nature Photographers Association invite photographers to enter the 2008-09 "The Nature of Mecklenburg" Photography Contest and Exhibition" to benefit Park and Rec and Partners for Parks, the non-profit organization, which promotes parks, greenways, and open space. Photographs may be taken by amateurs or professionals in Park and Rec facilities. Must be taken before Jul. 15, 2009 in categories: Plant Life, Landscape/Senic, People in Parks, and Wildlife. For details  www.parkandrec.com
 

PLAN TO TEE OFFIN FREE GOLF CLASSIC FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY, JULY 1

Military veterans (including National Guard and Reserves) and active duty military personnel are invited to sign-up to play in the annual Veterans & Reservists Golf Classic at  The Tradition Public Golf Course on Jul 1.  This is a FREE round of golf plus FREE lunch for those who qualify. Mecklenburg County Park and Rec salutes those who serve and have served our country in the armed forces.  For details, visit www.parkandrec.com






SIGN-UP NOW FOR 'RODNEY'S GREAT KIDS TRIATHLON' AS YOUNGSTERS SWIM, BIKE AND RUN IN A GREAT EVENT


It's time to register for the 12th annual "Rodney's Great Kids Triathlon" on Saturday April 18 at Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center. Last year more than 200 youngsters participated. It's great fun and helps foster youth fitness! The triathlon is held in the Aquatic Center's pool and on streets outside. Competition in swimming, biking, and running stretches over a course with age-appropriate distances. Separate competitions are held for boys and girls for ages 8 and younger, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, and 15-17. This event is named for Rodney Sellars, who has worked at the Aquatic Center as a supervisor since it opened. Click Here for details and to register.


RECREATION CENTER RENAMED TO HONOR COMMUNITY LEADERS CARLENIA IVORY, DON BAKER

   
 Ivory Baker Rec Center, where public housing once stood, is surrounded by a neighborhood renaissance  
Park and Receation held a special ceremony in March to celebrate the new name of Ivory Baker Recreation Center (formerly Oaklawn Recreation Center). Congressman Mel Watt and County Commission Chairman Jenifer Roberts spoke to honor namesakes Carlenia Graham Ivory and Don Nichols Baker. Ms. Ivory is a community leader who has led many efforts to improve education in Double Oaks and all over the county. Mr. Baker, who died in 2003, was active in many political activities as a campaign manager and supporter of education, decent housing and healthcare. The surrounding community petitioned Park and Recreation and Mecklenburg County Commissioners for the new name.


   
 What could be more fun for kids than an Easter Egg hunt in a beautiful park?  

EASTER 'EGGSTRAVAGANZA' AND MANY BUNNY EVENTS OFFERED BY PARK AND RECREATION

We hold many fun events this Easter season for youngsters, families and even seniors. Two outstanding ones are:

Easter Eggstravaganza at Col. Francis Beatty Park, 4330 Weddington Rd. This is the largest Easter egg hunt in the Carolinas April 11, 10-2pm. Thousands of people expected. Admission: FREE with 100,000 hidden pieces of candy for children! Park at nearby Siskey Branch YMCA, ride shuttles. Egg hunts are at10:30am, 12noon and 1:30pm. Many activities for youngsters.

Under Water Easter Egg Hunt at Ray's Splash Planet, 215 N. Sycamore Street, on April 2, 2009, 10am-12pm and 5pm-7pm. Youngsters hunt for eggs submerged in shallow water, win prizes, and take pictures with the Easter Bunny! For children 12 and younger. Admission $10. Parents may accompany for FREE.

For many other great events Click Here.


STEP TEAMS INVITED TO SHOWCASE SOUL AND SPIRIT AT 'MECK STEPPERS STEP INTO SPRING CHAMPIONSHIPS' MAY 31

Park and Rec invites step teams to sign-up now for the "Meck Steppers Countywide Annual Step into Spring Championships", May 31, 2pm-7pm in Grady Cole Center. Teams may compete from rec centers, neighborhoods, community groups, churches, schools and colleges. The event is open to the first 25 teams to enter. Deadline to enter is Apr. 30. Participants may range from age 4 years to senior adults! Teams may be all male, all female, or co-ed steppers. Entry fee: $5 for each team member. For entry packet and rules, or for more informa  ion, contact Dora DuBose at the Ivey Baker Recreation Center: 704-353-1251 or  Dora.Dubose@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov. The tag line is catching: "Show your soul…Show your spirit"

   
 April showers bring May flowers as spring gets ready to bloom.  

E-PLANT TIPS FOR WINTER FROM THE NC COOPERATVE EXTENSION SERVICE

In Mecklenburg County the Cooperative Extension Service is part of Park and Recreation and offers the following tips for gardeners this spring:

Turf grasses grow best at soil pH's of 6.0 to 7.0. Have your soil's pH analyzed every two to three years to be sure you are in that range. Contact the Extension office at 704-336-4011 for more information about soil testing and where you can obtain a kit.

Cool-season grasses are normally only successfully established from August 15 to the middle of

October, and from February 30 to April 15 in the spring. Spring overseeding and renovations usually have limited success because water becomes a limiting factor, as the lawn transitions into the summer warm season.

Excessive application of nitrogen to cool-season grasses in the spring can lead to excessive leaf growth at the expense of stored food reserves and root growth, increasing injury to lawns from summer disease and drought.


BRING YOUR GREEN THUMB OR QUEST FOR KNOWLEDGE TO THE MASTER GARDENERS PLANT SALES MAY 2 AND 9,OFFER MANY UNUSUAL VARIETIES

Master Gardeners of Mecklenburg County Cooperative Extension Service offer a wide selection of annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees at this year's spring plant sales:

Saturday, May 2: 7am-1pm at Mecklenburg County Farmers Market Building A, 1801 Yorkmont Road, Charlotte.

Saturday, May 9: 7am-1pm at the Matthews Farmers Market on North Trade St., Matthews.

Plants for sale are propagated from the gardens of Master Gardeners. With low prices and wide selection, including unusual varieties, this is a great sale for anyone who loves gardening. Prices range from $2-$20 a plant. Proceeds support an annual horticulture scholarship at CPCC. For more information contact Plant Sale Chair Shannon Stober, at sbstober@gmail.com or Scott Ewers, Extension Horticulture Agent at or 704 336-4008 or scott_ewers@ncsu.edu.


VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES AT PARK AND RECREATION; COME HELP US WITH MANY EVENTS

For information on volunteering for any of these programs contact: Lori Saylor or 704 336-5478. NOTE: Volunteers younger than age 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Volunteers for Therapeutic Recreation (TR) must be at least 18.Join the fun. Volunteer for any of the following:

  • Rodney's Great Kids Triathlon, Sat 4/18 at Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center uptown. Help monitor the course, pass out water and cheer participants. TEENS WELCOME.
  • Bark in the Park, Sat 4/26 at Metrolina Expo (old fair grounds). Two shifts: 6am–1pm, noon-5:30pm. FUN dog festival! Volunteers help set-up, take-down, help with contests and filling water bowls.
  • Be -A-Champion Track and Field: Tuesdays in May, 5:30pm-8:30pm, Belk Stadium complex at JCSU. Ages 16 and up needed. Help run youth track and field league. Conduct check-ins, measure, rake sand pits, give awards, etc
  • Community Easter Egg Hunt, Sat. 4/11, 11am-1pm, Albemarle Rd. Rec Center (on Idlewild Rd). Help hide eggs and assist little children with hunt, games, set-up tables, etc. TEENS WELCOME.
  • Spring Carnival, Tuckaseegee Recreation Center, Sat. 4/18, 1pm–6pm. Help set-up stations for carnival, monitor assigned areas and games, break down.
  • Senior Games: LIMITED VOLUNTEER SPACES. Sat. 4/18, Ray's Splash Planet, 8:30am-1pm or Sat. 4/25 at Myers Park HS, 8am-1pm or Tue 4/28 at Lowes Motor Speedway, 4:30 pm - 9 pm or Sat. May 2 at Nevin Park, 8am-11am and 10am-3pm. Help with events and preparations. TEENS WELCOME.
  • National Trails Day, Saturday 6/6, McDowell Nature Preserve, 9am - 2 pm. Volunteers will help clean the Nature Preserve's trails. This is a nation wide event. ALL AGES.

For more information on these and other eventsClick Here.



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