Tag Archives: Health

What to know about Beach Wrack

Clumps of seaweed — usually Sargassum — as well as grasses and other marine algae and organisms that wash ashore have a name. It’s called beach wrack, and although some say it may look or smell unpleasant, it does not create a health risk to beachgoers. In fact, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, it’s “a pivotal part of the beach ecosystem.”

Beach wrack is beneficial to animals and marine habitats in a number of ways —

  • It provides vital food for young sea turtles.
  • It serves as fodder for crabs, beetles, and other small creatures, which in turn are food for shore birds.
  • It’s used by baby birds as camouflage and foraging material.
  • It forms the basis for sand dunes; as dunes start, sand blows along the beach and collects along the windward side of the wrack, forming sand dunes, which help to protect the coastline.

Seaweed is constantly present in the Atlantic Ocean and is washed ashore more frequently during sustained onshore winds with seasonal shifts in the Gulf Stream, particularly when the Gulf Stream nudges closer to the coast in the summer. Occasionally, weather conditions exist in which an unusual amount of beach wrack is washed ashore continuously over a period of time. Before you head to the beach, be sure to check PBC Parks’ Beach Conditions page for locations where concentrations may be heavy.

Audubon Florida’s educational presentation in this video provides a good overview of the importance of beach wrack:  https://youtu.be/9m8o5ZRcNSI

You can help keep PBC Parks’ beaches clean by becoming an Adopt-A-Park partner, a program that gives participants a sense of park ownership and an outlet to give back to the community by maintaining parks, beaches, and trails through picking up litter, maintaining flower beds, painting, and more. You can also join or organize a beach cleanup. Learn more about volunteering with PBC Parks here: https://discover.pbcgov.org/parks/General/Volunteer.aspx.

Power of Parks: Shayna Ginsburg

Welcome to Power of Parks, a podcast produced by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, where we share inspiring stories from people who have benefited from nature, parks and recreation.

In honor of May as mental health awareness month, episode 14 features Dr. Shayna Ginsburg. She’s the chief of clinical services, education, and training for the palm beach county youth services department. Shayna joined the podcast via Zoom to talk about the ‘Get Your Green On” campaign, the importance of mental health, and the ways in which visiting parks and spending time in nature can help contribute to better mental health.

County and YMCA of the Palm Beaches Partnering to Bring New Facilities, Amenities to Lake Lytal Park

Caption: Left to right — Commissioner Gregg K. Weiss, Eric Call, Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department Director, Tim Leuliette, Board President, YMCA of the Palm Beaches and Tim Coffield, President & CEO, YMCA of the Palm Beaches

On Tuesday, January 12, the Palm Beach County (PBC) Board of County Commissioners approved a resolution authorizing the YMCA of the Palm Beaches (YMCA) to lease approximately five acres in Lake Lytal Park for 50 years with one 50-year extension option. 

The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department (PBC Parks) and the YMCA are partnering to bring new facilities, amenities, and improvements to Lake Lytal Park, located at 3645 Gun Club Road in West Palm Beach. PBC Parks is planning to replace the Aquatic Center and relocate it adjacent to the YMCA’s facilities.

The new Aquatic Center inside Lake Lytal Park will include both competition facilities as well as other water-based recreational amenities. Improvements planned by the YMCA include an Olympic-style skate park and training facility, state-of-the-art community center/health and fitness facility, and a child care center.  The design development phase for both the Aquatic Center and the YMCA amenities are expected to commence shortly and last approximately 12 months. The construction of the both the Aquatic Center and the YMCA amenities could commence by late 2021.

The agreement ensures that both PBC Parks and the YMCA construct facilities and infrastructure improvements at their own expense.  The YMCA will be building the Olympic-style skate park and training facility as Phase I, the community center/health and fitness facility as Phase II, and an indoor gymnasium and child care center as Phase III. The YMCA is currently lining up major donors who might want their namesake attached to this essential community center, located along the busiest east-west corridor (Southern Blvd) in Palm Beach County, leaving a legacy for years to come.

“Public-private partnerships between YMCAs and municipal Parks and Recreation Departments are thriving throughout the country. We look forward to this cooperative project at Lake Lytal Park being a shining example of how these types of collaborative relationships can greatly benefit the community,” said Tim Coffield, CEO and President of the YMCA of the Palm Beaches. “We are grateful for the leadership of County staff, the support of our County Commissioners, and we are excited to bring our collective vision to fruition.”

“The possibility to partner with the YMCA of the Palm Beaches to develop and collocate world class recreation facilities at Lake Lytal Park is a distinctive and timely opportunity that will benefit the residents of Palm Beach County for years to come,” said Eric Call, Director, Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department.

In addition, within two years of the county’s completion of the aquatic facility inside Lake Lytal Park, the YMCA will handle staffing, programming, and operational management of the facility, which is projected to significantly reduce PBC Parks’ operational expenses.

Energy-Efficient LED Lighting installed at pbcParks

LED lighting is installed at a ballfield located inside Juno Park, as well as at 44 other facilities throughout pbcParks. (Photo Credit: Musco Lighting)

$15 Million in Infrastructure Surtax funding was allocated over a seven-year period towards the conversion of sports field lighting from traditional metal halide bulbs to LEDs at 45 facilities managed by Palm Beach County.

LED lighting is more energy efficient, requires less maintenance and lasts longer than standard bulb lighting. The Musco LED fixtures utilized by the County provide a focused beam on the playing surface that, through additional shielding, eliminates much of the spillover light that can negatively impact surrounding homes and businesses.  LED lights also provide the additional benefit of being activated immediately, eliminating the long warm-up time currently needed for traditional bulb lighting.

PUBLIC SERVICE PROFESSIONALS: PBCPARKS STAFF MAKING A DIFFERENCE DURING COVID-19

Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation staff alongside the National Guard (one of our partners).

Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Public Service Professionals are helping to fill much-needed roles across the county during this challenging time of general park closures. Many staff members have ventured away from their typical park-related roles in order to assist where critically needed. Here are just some of the ways staff has been assisting through various emergency and community roles:

• Staff has been deployed through the EDRP to the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), including Ocean Rescue EMTs who have been screening people entering the EOC per CDC guidelines

• Recreation Programs Supervisor Cliff Battles is also at the EOC and is adeptly handling many Logistics Section and municipal mission/resource requests

• Public Relations Specialist Bibi Baksh was activated to the EOC in the Public Information Unit and helped pull together the 4:00 P.M. press conference

• Several designated EOA members from throughout the Department have also been activated to help set-up the COVID-19 Drive-through Testing Site at Fit Team Ballpark of the Palm Beaches with the multiple partner agencies; the department’s sign shop is busy producing signs critical to this effort

• Several forklift drivers are assisting at the Countywide Staging Area (CSA) at the fairgrounds, where supplies from the State are coming in, being sorted and distributed to a prioritized list including hospitals, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, etc…

These roles are in addition to the thousands of less visible but critical ways staff makes a difference through answering questions, educating the public, securing parks, sharing social media experiences to provide for a moment of stress relief or to inform, maintaining natural habitats, and more.

Volunteer spotlight: Carole Rapport

Carole Rapport has been a volunteer at Daggerwing Nature Center for over seven years. She serves as the volunteer gift shop manager and is also the treasurer for Friends of Daggerwing Nature Center. Her involvement with the site ranges from the gift shop to volunteer management as well as working with the animals.

Carole started in 2012 working in the butterfly garden and evolved to share her talents in various ways, especially with the Friends of Daggerwing Nature Center. “Carole is a brilliant person with great skills that are valuable to any organization – she is organized, professional, and one of the best friends I know,” said Sean Mallee, Daggerwing Nature Center Manager.

According to Carole, her favorite thing about volunteering at Daggerwing Nature Center, “is all the friendships I’ve made here… all the volunteers come from such diverse backgrounds and experiences but we are friends because our our common goals.”

Free Fridays at Rick macci Tennis aCademy brings tennis to kids

Palm Beach County residents can enjoy a new amenity inside Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park – the Rick Macci Tennis Academy features newly-renovated tennis and racquetball courts, as well as plans to build indoor tennis courts! The facility now offers a “Free Fridays” program, where kids under the age of five can receive tennis instruction for free. Watch this video to find out more!

PBC PARKS named 2019 Annual FRPA Award Winner for Excellence in Sports Tourism Award

The Florida Recreation and Park Association (FRPA) has awarded Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation as the 2019 recipient of the Excellence in Sports Tourism Award given out at the FRPA Annual Conference held in Orlando. This award recognizes the outstanding work done by the Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation department to advance the park and recreation profession in the area of Sports Tourism. To be considered for this award, a department must be an FRPA member in good standing and nominated by a Florida Sports Foundation Industry Partner in good standing (Regional Sports Commission).

“Sports Tourism is dependent upon partnerships such as the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation department and the Palm Beach County Sports Commission working toward the common goal of not only continually bringing in repeat events each year, but increasing the scope of those events where possible and working together to identify new events. This award demonstrates just how important it is to have a great parks and recreation system in place in order to boost sports tourism”, says George Linley, Executive Director of the Palm Beach County Sports Commission.

The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department is committed to engaging the Palm Beach County Sports Commission in order to effectively develop, promote and provide outstanding recreational opportunities and amenities for the purpose of sports tourism. In doing so, this partnership annually contributes over $27 million in economic impact and continues to be a premier destination for sports enthusiasts around the world to “Just Bring Their Game” to Palm Beach County.

“I am extremely proud to have been awarded the 2019 FRPA Excellence in Sports Tourism award. The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation department prides itself on being a nationally recognized parks and recreation leader that connects people and parks by being the premier outdoor recreation destination in south Florida. By partnering with the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, we ensure that sports enthusiasts from around the world know of, visit and use our parks, and spread the word about the great sporting opportunities here in Palm Beach County.I’m also grateful to the County Commission and our Administration for their unwavering support of the Parks and Recreation Department and the benefits our services generate for the community,” said PBC Parks Director Eric Call.

The Florida Recreation and Park Association annually awards park and recreation agencies, employees, volunteers and partners that have made an impact on their community. Nominees must submit information and details supporting the nomination and a volunteer committee made up of their peers reviews and rates the submissions. The FRPA Awards presentation takes place at the Annual FRPA Conference in August. Winners are presented with a plaque and recognition through the FRPA Journal. More information on the Awards Program can be found at frpa.org/awards.

Power of Parks: Zachary Gottsagen

Welcome to Power of Parks, a podcast produced by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, where we share inspiring stories from people who have benefited from nature, parks and recreation.

Episode 7 features guest Zachary Gottsagen, a Palm Beach County local who participates in Arts4All – Florida – Palm Beach County programs and stars alongside Shia LaBeouf and Dakota Johnson in the movie, Peanut Butter Falcon. Zach has Down syndrome, and the movie is garnering positive attention for being one of the few movies where an individual with Down syndrome is cast in a leading role.
—————————————————————–
About Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department:
The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, recognized nationally for excellence in park and recreation management, operates more than 110 parks and recreational facilities and provides organized recreational programs and services for people of all ages and abilities. Visit http://www.pbcparks.com​ for more information.

Wheelchair Course: John Prince Park

In 1983, Palm Beach County resident Fred Sandberg helped bring a ‘Wheelchair Accessible Heart Trail’ to John Prince Park. 35 years later, he helped PBC Parks make renovations and additions to the Wheelchair Course.

Watch Fred’s story to learn about the course, how it’s helped him, and how it continues to help the Palm Beach County community stay active and healthy.