Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Communities Blossom in Nations in Bloom

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Communities Blossom in Nations in Bloom

Article excerpt

The Nations in Bloom annual international awards competition is a worldwide celebration of what makes a community livable, sustainable and enjoyable.

Advertising pages 41-44 missing in number only. ProQuest Information and Leaming.

Special Category award of Nations in Bloom.

Winning Combinations

Several common themes resonate in each of these award-winning nominations, according to those knowledgeable about the competition.

"These communities were winners before they entered the competition, but they brought home the awards because of their commanding knowledge and outstanding presentations," says Barry Tindall, NRPAs director of public policy and a long-time observer of Nations in Bloom contestants. "Each of the finalists had good visual aids and made good presentations, but it was evident that the winning applicants had extensive contacts with all parts of the community They had touched base with everyone in town who had anything to do with city services, and they knew their facts."

Other vital components for success were a high degree of citizen involvement; solid, science-based natural resource management strategies and attention to detail in each of the five judging categories, (Each category was worth a maximum of 20 percent of the total score.) Less-than-adequate answers in just one category have knocked leading contestants out of the competition.

William Stine, of the Baltimore Parks and Recreation Department, says, "The presentations of finalists in our judging group ranged from professional videos and high-end graphics down to simple slides and mounted photos. Whatever level of visual aids that were used was not as important as the context. The judges did not seem to be seeking a demonstration of hightech excellence. What seemed most valuable in the presentation was to present a true story of your community's experiences." Adds Stine, "You need to show failures as well as successes. In showing your weaknesses, you have an opportunity to show what you are going to do about meeting your goals."

Alan Smith, chief executive of Nations in Bloom, says, "There are themes that run across all categories of finalists, from the very small towns to the largest urban cities. In each winning entry, it was evident that the applicants were thinking and questioning as they prepared their applications. …

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