Located at NW 31st St. and N. Shartel Ave. in Oklahoma City, a group of local residents has teamed up with Closer to Earth (C2E) to reinvent the Central Park Community Garden from an annual produce garden to a full-fledged pollinator and people paradise! The garden is open to the public. Come by and visit anytime!
We believe a healthy community includes activities for youth and all ages to participate, has access to green spaces and healthy food within walking distance. We host weekly volunteer workdays open to the public, as well as youth activities with our neighborhood schools. The garden contributes to the life of local children by creating an urban wild space that serves both the community and struggling species which some of our youth may never see due to lack of nature-immersion opportunities.
In March, 2022, we launched our first workday to clean up the property and prepare the land for its makeover. We aim to reinvigorate the garden with a wide variety of native trees, shrubs and wildflowers that will benefit our native pollinators, as well as inviting walking paths, educational signage, seating areas and art to engage our local residents.
By adapting and expanding existing infrastructure, art and established pollinator plants, we will create an inviting, visitor-friendly space to wander and learn without the barriers of travel, admission fees or large-time commitments.
Additionally, the garden is centrally located within the Monarch butterfly’s migratory path – an iconic species whose population numbers have declined drastically over the last decade due to habitat loss and other factors. During the current environmental crisis in our society, this garden transformation will not only provide new habitat for wildlife, but it will also engage youth and neighbors while serving as inspiration for additional habitat at their place of residence, work and beyond.
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Awards and Recognition for Closer to Earth and the Central Park Community Garden
2000 - Central Park Community Garden awarded "Most Innovative Community Garden" by American Community Gardening Association regional conference.
2010 - Closer to Earth awarded "National Youth Garden of the Year" from Gardeners Supply Co. and Green Education Foundation.
2010 - Allen Parleir awarded "Environmental Educator of the Year" from Oklahoma Sierra Club for work with Closer to Earth youth.
2011 - Closer to Earth won Keep Oklahoma Beautiful "Environmental Excellence of the Year" award in the youth category for our summer "Growing Youth, Growing Food Project".
2012 - Closer to Earth won Keep Oklahoma Beautiful 2012 "Environmental Excellence of the Year" award in the youth category for our expanded Composting Project.
2014 - Allen Parleir awarded 2014 "Environmental Excellence Champion Volunteer of the Year" by Keep Oklahoma Beautiful.