Parks study to focus on youth

Posted In: Parks
Date: 8/19/2019

Youth ages 15 to 19 will be key participants in a Metropolitan Council study this fall. The study will explore:

  • How youth think about and enjoy nature in the regional parks system

  • How youth access parks

  • What youth prefer to see and do in parks

  • What barriers youth experience in regional parks and on regional trails

Five teens playing soccer.“Our goals include gathering information to help create a more inclusive parks system for youth and families, as well as building youth capacity in research practices, civic engagement, and public speaking,” explained Darcie Vandegrift, Council researcher. “We’ve developed a very innovative research model and are excited to work with our partners to engage in the work.”

A collaboration of youth-serving nonprofit organizations, youth and parent/guardian participants, university students, and Council research staff will generate and gather data using methods such as in-park focus groups and observational field study.

Youth-serving organizations may apply through Sept. 6

Youth-serving nonprofit organizations are invited to apply to collaborate on the project and will be compensated for their work. The deadline for applications is Sept. 6.

Council staff anticipate selecting four organizations that will each recruit a group of up to 20 high-school-age youth and least five of their parents/guardians for a half-day activity.

Expected project outcomes for the parks/youth study

  • Create fun and well-being for youth through enjoyment of regional parks and trails

  • Build equitable youth and community use of the regional parks system

  • Provide the agencies who operate regional parks with credible, needed data

  • Value community expertise through innovative methods, compensation, sharing credit for work, and decision-making power in the process across the team

  • Build youth capacity for civic engagement and research

  • Build a diverse pipeline of future researchers

  • Spread the word about what youth think about and experience in the regional park system

Research activities will be carried out in September and October. The research team will analyze data starting in November, with sharing of the results expected in spring 2020.

Posted In: Parks


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