Page 10 - 2021 Annual Report
P. 10

 Playing with a Purpose: Measuring the Benefits of BREC Services
BREC is undergoing an economic impact study by the Trust for Public Land to demonstrate its value to the community. Preliminary results show BREC parks increase market value of homes in the parish by nearly $21-million. It also shows BREC will save taxpayers $36,224,882 annually in avoided stormwater treatment when additional planned green infrastructure is constructed. BREC parks also currently remove more than 126 tons of pollution from the environment each year.
BREC’s annual 24-hour Bioblitz event uses citizens to help catalogue species in BREC Parks. In 2019, BREC invited schools and incorporated Louisiana’s new science curriculum into the data collection process, allowing students to learn from professional scientists. In 2020, the program went virtual, expanding to two-months, and in 2021, GIS was used to create a dashboard for participants to view. Since the program began, participants have recorded 3,337 species in BREC Parks using the iNaturalist app. The information creates a baseline of data for conservation management plans to meet conservation and resiliency goals. It also informs interpretative signage and nature programs to help visitors understand the biodiversity of BREC parks and south Louisiana.
BREC strives to increase equitable access to its parks and amenities. To ensure everyone can visit the Baton Rouge Zoo regardless of income, every Wednesday afternoon, admission is discounted to $1.50 per person. The Zoo promotes the program on social media and its website. In 2020, the program saw a remarkable 128% increase over 2019 numbers and a 21% increase in 2021. The 2020 increase was due in part to a 50th anniversary celebration in the month of June where admission dropped to 50-cents, although attendance was up every Wednesday afternoon that the Zoo was open that year.

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