Parks Ambassador Program

Building awareness of the regional parks

Poster on a sidewalk, pointing visitors to a regional park.Our regional parks ambassador program is designed to help raise awareness of the regional parks and trails. Our goal is to ensure that all residents know about and feel welcome and comfortable using our world-class parks and trails system.

By intentionally engaging underrepresented communities we aim to build authentic relationships and trust to encourage use of the regional parks system and build support for its future.

The parks ambassador works in partnership with the 10 regional park implementing agencies to achieve more equitable use of regional parks and trails.

The idea for the program grew out of policy discussions during development of the 2040 Regional Parks Policy Plan and feedback from focus groups, who noted that the key barrier to regional park use was lack of awareness.

Ambassador program projects

Bus with colorful images.

Nature Connector

In 2019, our parks ambassador collaborated with Metro Transit on two wrapped buses, dubbed Nature Connectors. The wrap was a beautiful painting designed by Minneapolis muralist Greta McLain and created in her studio, GoodSpace Murals. The painting prominently featured monarch butterflies.

The buses traveled for the summer of 2019 on routes that lead to some of the region’s most popular regional parks — Minnehaha and Theodore Wirth in Minneapolis and Como and Lake Phalen in Saint Paul — to highlight the connection between transit and parks. Temporary sidewalk clings featuring butterflies marked the paths between each park and select bus stops.

Map highlighting the routes that serve select regional parks

Video: Travel on butterfly wings to a regional park

Artwork highlights connection between transit and regional parks

Small red-and-white building on ice.

Art Shanty

Can we grow a forest from love? Yes! The Ambassador Program demonstrated this as one of the many participants in the Art Shanty Project on Lake Harriet during the winter of 2020. At the Ambassador Program’s shanty, visitors wrote love letters to their favorite regional parks. For every five love letters written, we planted a tree, in partnership with Mississippi Park Connection. Visitors wrote 4,600 love letters so we planted 830 trees. Read some of our favorite love letters here and fill out your own love letter form to your favorite Regional Park!

Video: Met Council Future Forest Art Shanty

Article: Art shanty celebrates regional parks

Two trees with small illustrated posters.

Tree Hugs

Nature has great power to restore our emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. During COVID-19, it is still a good time to enjoy the regional parks, using proper social distancing, of course.

While you are in some of the parks, you may find “tree hugs” signs designed by artist Witt Siasoco with mental health and safety messages, and a little bit of joy, to encourage you and other park visitors. The signs are a partnership between the Met Council and the agencies that operate the regional parks.

Video: Enjoy the regional parks and the new “tree hugs”

Contact us

Want to connect with the regional parks ambassador about an opportunity or idea for your regional parks system? Contact Amanda Lovelee at [email protected].