Nature today | County Gelderland wants to let nature thrive in sport

The solution lies in nature

“In many sports parks, nature is given less and less space due to ease of maintenance. This causes all kinds of problems such as heat stress and flooding. The solution to these problems lies in nature, for example by planting more trees,” explains Bob, Structure Project Leader Sports infrastructure in the National Oil Corporation. “This is also a great opportunity for biodiversity, as one percent of the Earth’s surface in the Netherlands is a sports field. Moreover, research shows that exercising in a natural environment is better for your mental health.”

“Gilderland is the frontrunner when it comes to nature-inclusive sports and making sports accommodations more sustainable,” says Bob. “Together with the County of Gelderland and the Guilders Sports Federation, we are working on more biodiversity in sports parks.”

Support the greening of the sports park

The municipality of Nijmegen recently received support from the county for the greening of the Oscar Carré sports park. “Partly for this reason, we can turn this sports park into a beautiful, green place for sports and exercise,” says Peter Hendricks, director of outdoor sports for the municipality of Nijmegen. “And what I really like: The students of the nearby Uvirta Vocational High School will help us sow and grow the green spaces.”

Peter explains that the ten-year-old artificial turf at Oscar Carré Sports Park has now been replaced by more eco-friendly non-fillable artificial turf (without plastic “filler” or cork, for example). “Since last year (2021), we have also budgeted for biodiversity for each regeneration. Then the urban ecologist makes a plan that fits the environment. This increases the chances of survival of the target species and also creates more space with support from the county, we can do more with Biodiversity Along the fields and in the clubhouse, for example, we create flower lawns, orchards, front plants and plant single trees and groups of trees.”

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make more sustainable

“We are also working to make our sports parks more sustainable in other ways. For example, we no longer spray our natural grass pitches with tap water. We spray low above the ground, so less water is lost. We are also looking at options for solar panels and solar carpets. , which are carpets with retractable solar panels that can be rolled over the artificial turf when there is no play,” explains Peter. “We get enthusiastic responses from sports federations and athletes and we’re helping the climate. So it’s a win-win situation.”

Inspirational examples and applying for a benefit

Curious about the possibilities or looking for more inspiring examples? look at him Nature’s comprehensive inspiration document for sports and exercise (pdf; 48.3 MB). Gelderland municipalities can also apply for a Gelderland County grant to increase the biodiversity of their municipality’s sports parks. For example, to plant trees, plant a mixture of native flowers and hanging birdhouses. You can submit your scholarship application via Biodiversity and Landscape Support Scheme

Text and image: County Gelderland

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