LouisvilleKY., – Mayor Greg Fischer, Councilwomen Vicki Welch and Cindi Fowler and other local officials joined staff from Louisville Parks and Recreation and Wilderness Louisville on Saturday, October 21 to unveil the newest addition to Jefferson Memorial Forest and the Louisville Parks and Recreation’s Natural Areas Division’s “Louisville is Engaging Children in Outdoors” (“ECHO”) Program.
The “ECHO Mobile” will take the ECHO Program on the road, allowing programming once held solely at Jefferson Memorial Forest to be available in neighborhoods throughout Louisville.
“In the past, we’ve been fortunate to be able to bring kids from nature poor areas in Louisville to the Forest for ECHO programming,” said Mayor Fischer. “Now, the program has come full circle. We can bring them to the Forest, and we can also bring the Forest to them. The ECHO Mobile is a great addition.”
Louisville ECHO provides youth education and out-of-school-time activities at Jefferson Memorial Forest and other community spaces.
Funded through a $30,000 Meet Me at the Park grant from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and The Walt Disney Company, the “ECHO Mobile” is a mobile outdoor recreation and nature play unit to bring a bit of the outdoors to relatively nature-poor urban parks.
The ECHO Mobile will bring activities such as biking, archery and fishing, and a variety of natural materials and nature play opportunities to youth throughout the community.
“We’re excited to be unveiling the “ECHO Mobile” at the Wilderness Louisville Forest Adventure, but we’re also ready to hit the road and take it into the community starting in earnest next spring,” said Bennett Knox, Park Administrator. “It’s one more ECHO component that we can use to improve equitable access to nature for Louisville youth and families.”
About Wilderness Louisville:
Wilderness Louisville is the non-profit champion for Louisville’s natural areas, from the nation’s largest urban forest, Jefferson Memorial Forest, to the ones in your neighborhood.
Wilderness Louisville raises funds to: implement the Forest’s master plan which calls for $55 million of capital investment; acquire property to improve habitat connectivity at the Forest; and sustain the Louisville ECHO initiative.
Incorporated in 2013, it is one of the five non-profit foundations that support improvements to the wonderful system of public parks and open space managed by Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation. More information can be found at www.wildernesslouisville.org.
About Jefferson Memorial Forest:
The 6,600-acre Jefferson Memorial Forest, a woodland tribute to those Kentucky veterans who have served our nation during times of war, is Jefferson County’s largest nature preserve and the largest municipal urban forest in the nation. The Forest is the flagship of Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation’s Natural Areas Division which is entrusted with providing stewardship, nature-based educational programming, and outdoor recreation within nearly 7,000 acres of forest, meadow, and riparian habitat across Louisville Metro.
Jefferson Memorial Forest offers a full range of recreational amenities, including weekend education and adventure programs, hiking trails, camping, fishing, horseback riding trails and picnic areas. It is also home to one of Louisville’s most exciting new attractions, the Go Ape treetop adventure course. The Jefferson Memorial Forest Welcome Center is located at 11311 Mitchell Hill Road. For more information: 502-368-5404, or visit www.memorialforest.com.