News & Stories

Trails Initiatives Recognized

The Sunflower Foundation is one of two statewide organizations selected to receive the President’s Award for a Statewide Organization by the National Association of State Park Directors during their annual conference at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas this week.

The President’s Award recognizes organizations making exemplary contributions in promoting the importance of state park systems and trails and their ability to positively impact community health and quality of life. The award was presented during a dinner reception on Thursday, September 5. Sunflower Foundation President & CEO Billie Hall and Senior Program Officer Elizabeth Burger were present to accept the award on behalf of the Foundation.

The Sunflower Foundation first began funding trails in 2005 as a way to promote equitable opportunities for physical activities. Through its hallmark Sunflower Trails program, the Foundation has supported nearly 170 projects in more than 65 counties throughout the state of Kansas. The health benefits of outdoor activities make investing in trails a natural fit with the Foundation’s mission to improve the health of all Kansans. However, communities quickly discovered other opportunities, as well – including environmental and economic benefits.

Through collaboration with other groups like the Kansas Trails Council, the Foundation has supported initiatives like the “Trail-in-a-Box” program, the “Get Outdoors Kansas” website and app, and the Sunflower State Trail Appreciation Day at the Capitol.

The organization frequently brings together focus groups to assess interest in expanding trails, to determine what resources would help communities in the design process, and how best map the state’s extensive trail system.

“Connecting people – and trails – across the state is a priority for Sunflower Foundation. We know that investing in our trails and outdoor spaces improves the overall health of our communities,” says Billie Hall. “We appreciate the National Association of State Park Directors and our colleagues in other states for their recognition of our efforts in Kansas.”

For more information, please contact: Billie Hall, President & CEO (785) 232-3000 or (785) 845-8669.

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