MY BELLE ISLE
A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE BELLE ISLE CONSERVANCY & CHALLENGE DETROIT
The Belle Isle Conservancy spent March in partnership with Challenge Detroit. Challenge Detroit is a leadership and professional development program that invites approximately 30 of tomorrow’s leaders to live, work, play, give, and lead in and around the greater Detroit area for one year. During the course of the year, Fellows contribute intellectually and through hands-on service making incremental impact in the community. Learning by doing is a cornerstone of the program and the Fellows have the courage, passion, and drive to make a difference. We tasked our teams of fellows to delve into this question:
“How might we creatively convey facts and stories about Detroit’s compelling assets on Belle Isle
in order to enhance the park experience and foster greater appreciation and emotional connection?”
Rich with history and natural beauty, Belle Isle State Park sits, nestled, in the middle of the Detroit River. For generations, Detroiters and tourists alike have traversed these historic grounds where outdoor recreation, family memories, and culture abound. Detroit’s 982-acre gem features a conservatory & gardens, a nature center, an aquarium, picnic areas, athletic fields, a collection of monuments and statues dating back to 1897, hiking trails, an intricate canal system, natural wonders of flora and fauna, three lakes, a maritime museum, and over 150 acres of wetlands forest – all topped off with a spectacular view of the city skyline. With so much at our fingertips, how can we possibly share all of the wonders of Belle Isle with all who visit?
The “My Belle Isle Challenge” gathered interesting information which our visitors can use to educate themselves about the history, community and character of the historic, natural and cultural assets on Belle Isle. There is a lot of information out there regarding Belle Isle Park. Historians, painters, writers, travelers, bloggers, photographers, and visitors have been documenting their experiences for decades and with the rise of the digital age and social media- more and more park users are sharing the beauty of Belle Isle with everyone. The BIC can provide a Self-Guided Tour packet with location and historic information of monuments, buildings, and other distinctive features and attractions. We also invested in a Guided Tour Map to go along with this packet of information.
The Belle Isle Conservancy is committed to the idea that healthy parks build healthy cities. The park experience is as essential as breathing to the communities which surround them. Therefore, through inspiration and education, the BIC connects and engages park visitors to become invested in the future of Belle Isle. With a vested community as its foundation, the Conservancy can take restorative action to ensure Belle Isle remains steadfast for future generations. Dedicated to achieving this goal through supporting the park and its visitors, the Belle Isle Conservancy wants to re-imagine how YOU visit Belle Isle. People use Belle Isle differently and each use is as unique and special as all others. We want to share these experiences to cultivate an emotional connection to the island and the community it offers. At the end of this project, the written content and video moments you deliver will serve as a blueprint as to how the Conservancy will explore and document the facts, experiences, and connections of other significant assets on the island.