Respectfully submitted: Jennifer Jones, Director, Lynchburg Parks and Recreation Department
The Lynchburg Parks and Recreation Department is excited about the Lynchburg Kindness Rocks movement! Why? It encourages creativity, physical activity and time spent in nature. All of these benefits make for a happy and healthy Lynchburg, not to mention spreading the LOVE. Anytime folks love on nature, whether it is hugging a tree or decorating a rock with positive affirmations for a random passerby to treasure, we think it is a good thing.
Life coach Megan Murphy started the Kindness Rocks movement in Cape Cod in 2015, when she began placing vibrantly painted rocks bearing inspirational messages along the beaches for others to discover. She wanted to spread hope through painted messages such as “Focus on what makes you happy” and “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”
What began as a hobby for Murphy has grown into a grassroots movement, with individuals from across the United States, and even as far as Europe and Australia, hiding rocks as a random act of kindness. The phenomenon came to Lynchburg during the summer of 2017–or we think so. That’s when parks and trail workers started discovering painted rocks at trail heads and along paved paths throughout the parks system in Lynchburg.
ROCK SHARING TIPS AND TRICKS
1. RESPECT NATURE
• Enjoy the many benefits that nature has to offer but do not disturb the environment.
• Protect our parks. Leave what you find. Do not collect rocks or other items from the parks. Do not dig, cut, burrow, or harm trees in any way.
• Place rocks on the trail where they will be easily seen. Stay on the trail and leave no trace.
• Respect wildlife – our parks are their home.
2. ENJOY NATURE
• Find a quiet place to sit, listen, and enjoy being outside in nature.
3. SHARE THE EXPERIENCE
• Invite your friends and family to enjoy our parks and trails with you. You might find a special gold rock, or meet new and unusual friends.
4. GET MOVING
• We’re secretly encouraging walking trails and visiting parks, all for your own good health.
• Check out the new earthen nature trail on Percival Island; the new trail provides great views of the James River.
• Research studies have shown that 50% of the US population does not get the recommended weekly allowance for physical activity and that people who use parks and open spaces are 3 times more likely to achieve the recommended levels of physical activity than park nonusers. Couple that with the fact that 11% of all US deaths are related to physical inactivity and you can sees why we would support ideas that get folks moving, especially in a natural setting like our parks and trails.
5. HAVE FUN! JOIN THE PARKS & REC KINDNESS ROCKS CHALLENGE!
THE PARKS & REC KINDNESS ROCKS CHALLENGE
Lynchburg Parks & Rec is placing our own special gold rocks around the parks and trails to encourage folks to venture out to find them (the rocks are gold in color with a question on the bottom). The Kindness Rocks t-shirt will be given away as a prize for finding a gold rock. We will continue the challenge until the t-shirts run out.
If you find one of our gold rocks on the trails, you can win one Kindness Rocks t-shirts! Here’s how to let us know that you found one of our special gold rocks:
- Snap a picture of your new rock and post it on Instagram using the hashtags #KindnessRocks and #LynchburgParksandRec
- Send us your correct answer in a direct message on our Instagram handle @LynchburgParksandRec
- Bring your rock in to Miller Center (301 Grove Street) and we will gift you with an official Kindness Rocks tee-shirt!
*disclaimer: This challenge is not associated with or endorsed by Instagram or its affiliates.
We are encouraging the Kindness Rocks! movement because it promotes physical activity in nature. We are committed to preserving our natural resources and will continue to support this challenge provided we do not see any environmental issues as a result.
Watch for upcoming rock painting classes: Gnome Domes and Fairy Homes Construction 101 and Hobbit Home Construction 102.