Columbia, S.C. – A $20,000 grant from Duke Energy is helping South Carolina State Parks host events and increase outreach to invite diverse audiences to experience state parks for the first time.
“Duke Energy is a phenomenal partner, and we’re thrilled to have their support as we work to engage with diverse audiences through outreach and programs,” said Duane Parrish, director of the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism. “Our State Parks are treasures for everyone to enjoy and protect. This initiative is helping us invite more visitors to ‘come out and play’ – to experience hiking, camping or kayaking for the first time – and to make a long-lasting connection with nature.”
A lack of diversity in parks and on campgrounds is a nationwide problem, and one that South Carolina State Parks is working to address through partnerships and strategic outreach. The Duke Energy grant is supporting collaboration with community organizations to host fun and educational events that make the outdoors more accessible, more approachable and more welcoming for all – especially first-time and infrequent visitors from diverse backgrounds.
“Access to natural spaces is vital to building healthy communities,” said Michael Callahan, Duke Energy’s South Carolina president. “The calendar of events that the Duke Energy grant is supporting connects kids and families, from diverse backgrounds from the mountains of South Carolina to the coast, with the beauty and fun available to everyone in our state parks. We’re proud to support stronger communities and to help build a more diverse generation of future outdoor advocates through this initiative.”
This initiative is the second phase of reimagined efforts to increase diversity in state parks that kicked off in 2020 with a partnership with Black Folks Camp Too. Events are coordinated through local organizations across the state, including Outdoor Afro and the Boys and Girls Club of the Upstate.
On January 1, a First Day Hike at Paris Mountain State Park will serve as the official kickoff for 2022. If your organization is interested in partnering with South Carolina State Parks to help campgrounds and hiking trails better reflect the diverse population of South Carolina, contact Dia Hitt.
The $20,000 grant was awarded through the Beautiful Places Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to the protection and continuity of South Carolina’s 47 state parks. It is one of 16 awards totaling nearly $500,000 that Duke Energy has recently donated to support wildlife conservation efforts, environmental projects and educational programs across the state.
Follow South Carolina State Parks on social media for news and updates, and visit SouthCarolinaParks.com to plan your next adventure.
For more information, contact Sam Queen with SCPRT (email@example.com, 803-734-1779) or Ryan Mosier with Duke Energy - South Carolina (firstname.lastname@example.org, 843-617-3448).