|ABOUT FRIENDS OF BALLARD PARK
|A non-profit group known as Friends of Ballard Park (FBP) was formed in 1996 as a 501(c)(3) in an effort to protect Newport's Only Nature Preserve. Ballard Park has been transformed from a dumping ground to a much used recreational facility. The organization works in concert with the City of Newport to keep trails maintained and the park clean. It has also created a well received stable of educational programs, family-oriented activities and cultural events that are transforming the park from a place known for underage drinking parties to a site known for culture and exploration.
Friends of Ballard Park is dedicated to protecting, maintaining and promoting Newport's Only Nature Preserve. Its goals are to ensure Ballard Park remains a wild and natural open space for future generations; encourage the local public to visit and use the park; provide educational and cultural opportunities for local youth and families and highlight the unique qualities and historical importance of Ballard Park.
On all of its efforts, Friends of Ballard Park looks to other nonprofit organizations for collaborative opportunities. Summer educational classes set in Ballard Park have been offered free of charge since 2002 to agencies such as Island Arts, the Salvation Army, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center and the City of Newport's Teen Extreme program in an effort to enhance their curriculum and introduce children to Ballard Park who might not have access to it. Grants have been awarded to science teachers at neighboring Rogers High School as well as the Newport Area Career & Technical Center's photography class. Additionally, students from the NACTC's carpentry program worked to build boardwalks in the park and a youth board was created to further engage Rogers High School students.
The board of directors is dedicated to creating programming that will impact park use. Rogers High School students have been one of the largest user groups of the parks over the past few decades. Underage drinking parties create unwanted trash, graffiti, hurt the environment and in some cases create dangerous situations for teens. Our philosophy with regard to educational programs is to start with preteens so that we lay a foundation for interaction with area youth in which they respect the park and give them a sense of ownership so they serve as stewards when they enter their high school years and when exploring it with friends do so in a positive manner.
Programming which includes concerts, dance performances, yoga and belly dancing classes and nature-related tours also reflects this philosophy. The organization might be best known for creating the Ballard Park Pumpkin Tour which includes a display of over 1,000 jack-o-lanterns carved by children and adults enrolled in local nonprofit programs as well as the general public. The annual event is held the second Saturday before Halloween.
To keep up to date with events and happenings at Ballard Park, sign up to receive our free e-newsletter below ... or better yet, join Friends of Ballard Park and help preserve one of Newport's most unique environmental gems.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Carol C. Ballard, President
Mrs. Ballard donated 13 acres to be used for Ballard Park
when an abutting 54 acre parcel she owned was deeded to
the City as a wildlife refuge closed. She had the idea that
Ballard Park would serve as the natural viewing area for the
54 acres while providing a site for educational and cultural
activity. She is a major contributor to the organization
both financially and as a visionary.
Peggy Richmond, Vice President & Treasurer
Peggy Richmond is active in numerous local and
state noprofit organizations including the Redwood
Library & Atheneum and Women & Infants Hospital. She
spent many years working in the fields of corporate
finance and strategic planning and holds an MBA in finance
from the Wharton School at the University of
Pennsylvania. She lives with her husband John and
children in a home which overlooks the salt marsh
habitats of Cherry Creek and Gooseneck Cove into
which the watershed from Ballard Park flows.
A freelance landscape designer who spent time at Ballard Park
in his youth, Mr. Amaral has helped shape both the landscape
of the park as well as community service and mentoring
programs with area youth.
Mrs. Quinn is a seasoned executive leader who has held management positions at companies and nonprofit organizations such as Vectrix, Insight Communications, Revlon Foundation and Partnership for NYC. She is experienced at raising capital for nonprofit organizations, startup ventures as well as established companies.