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DES MOINES, IOWA — Iowa is home to 71 state parks and hundreds of smaller county and city parks. A national group is encouraging Iowans to share their love of their local parks.

“The great thing about parks is that you it’s almost like a choose your own adventure,” says Ivan Levin, Director of Strategic Partnerships for the National Park Trust, “You know, for some it’s about just being you know sitting and enjoying the breeze. For some it’s about going to the back country for two days for some it’s about going on a mile walk, or just taking in wildlife viewing or bird watching, or photography. For some it’s about playing sports or going to the playground”.

The National Park Trust started the ‘My Park, My Why’ campaign to get Americans excited about parks that are close to home. Some of Iowa’s most popular state parks include Lake Ahquabi in Indianola, Pine Lake in Eldora and Twin Lakes near Rockwell City. Whether you are fishing on a lake, reading on a bench or just walking in the woods – you are experiencing the health benefits parks have to offer, says Levin.

“Parks overall improve our physical, mental and psychological health, whether it’s, you know, helping combat, things like diabetes or hypertension, to things like helping with depression, anxiety or PTSD.”

The ‘My Park, My Why’ campaign is also about sharing your favorite parks with others via social media. “Go to your favorite park that really has special meaning in your life, and for 30 seconds talk about your park and your why, why is that place important,” says Levin, “Then … to get others, excited … challenge three others that challenge three others that can also share a ‘My Park, My Why story.”

You can share your videos on any social media platform using the hashtag: #MyParkMyWhy.