I am thrilled to present this digital annual report recapping the fantastic year Forest Park Forever had in 2016, thanks to our productive partnership with the City of St. Louis and our generous donors, members and volunteers.
As you will read about throughout this microsite, 2016 was a milestone year both for the Park and our nonprofit conservancy. With your help, we celebrated the 140th birthday of Forest Park and the 30th anniversary of our organization, which has grown from a grassroots fundraising organization to one of the most respected conservancies of its kind in the country. (Another number our whole community celebrated: Forest Park being voted the #1 City Park in America!)
Across the Park's 1,300 acres, Forest Park Forever and the City provided thoughtful stewardship of the grounds and facilities, from maintenance projects and large capital projects to daily care of the landscapes and forests. Our incredible team of volunteers had their most impactful year ever. We supported the visitor experience through a suite of services, from printed guides to in-person support for visitors from more than 90 countries. Teachers, students and adult learners from throughout the region were able to use the Park as an incomparable outdoor classroom. And throughout the year, we were so pleased to introduce a range of visual and digital projects that offered the community new ways to connect with Forest Park.
I would like to express our gratitude to Mayor Francis Slay for his ongoing advocacy of the Park and our partnership; Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry Greg Hayes, with whom I speak, email or text just about every day of the week about how this park can continue serving its 13 million annual visitors so well; the Forest Park Advisory Board for their meaningful volunteer service for the good of the Park and its visitors; and every one of the many partners with whom we work here in and around Forest Park.
Lastly, thanks to the entire Forest Park Forever donor family for everything you've done to advance our mission. We are passionate about our work here in Forest Park, and we couldn't do any of it without your generous support. (Not yet a member or donor? We'd love to have you!)
I look forward to another successful and fun year in Forest Park in 2017.
Lesley S. Hoffarth, P.E.
President and Executive Director, Forest Park Forever