A part of our work at the Bronx River Alliance is understanding how our parks are being used. We want to ensure that our parks are at the optimal quality for the communities we serve. This month, we are glad to have that desire come to life with our usership surveys.
Usership surveys are tools park organizations can use to evaluate how park goers interact with their park systematically. Using them provides insight into what facilities are being used, why they are being used, and added. We are partnering with Bronx Health REACH, an institute formed in 1999 to eliminate racial and ethnic health inequalities.
The survey will take place in Concrete Plant Park and Starlight Park over two weeks, starting September 21st. There are two primary components of the survey: park observers and entrance tally counters. For observing the park, the SOPARC method will be utilized. “SOPARC” stands for “System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities. It requires surveyors to walk through the park and document park users’ demographic information and activity. Park users should also be directed to an in-depth survey online through QR codes distributed throughout the park. Parts of the park will be in predetermined zones that will further sort out details. There will be 2-3 people per 1-2 hour shift. Entrance tally counters will document the flow of people through the northern and southern entrances. They will use counter clickers to tally the number of people. There will be 2 people per 1-2 hour shift.
But there is one essential piece the usership surveys cannot function without: volunteers! Without volunteers, it would be out of the question to facilitate these surveys. That’s why we need as many people as possible to sign up. COVID-19 has understandably affected our lives so that we are limited in how much we can go out. Therefore, volunteering with the alliance would be a great chance to immerse ourselves in nature after being inside for so long. For the surveys, we will be following social distancing guidelines to ensure people’s safety. We appreciate anyone who can come during these challenging circumstances.
We would also like to extend this volunteering opportunity to high school students. Firstly, it will allow them to develop useful skills in the future, such as data collecting and collaboration. Beyond that, the Bronx River inspires a range of career paths, from urban planning to architecture to environmentalism to public health.
Lastly, we emphasize how the Bronx River is for future generations. The Bronx River has endured hardship due to negligence, so we want to instill its importance early on, so it will ultimately only go up in progress.
You can sign up using this form, and you will later be contacted shortly for specific instructions. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Jonah Garnick, the Greenway Manager at the Bronx River Alliance at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he will be happy to answer your questions. Also, be sure to spread the word!