Getting to Know UPF Trustee Dixie Whitt

The Urbana Park District has played an important role during the entire 49 years my husband Greg and I have lived in Urbana. Both of us have our degrees in zoology and biology so interacting with nature is important to us. The first year we were here we were delighted to find an apartment across the street from Crystal Lake Park. During that year we got acquainted with the park as we explored the various paths on our evening walks and when we rescued and returned the baby ducklings that our cat brought us. In those days it was ducks on the lake, not geese!

Our first house was in the state street area near Blair Park. We continued our evening walks which included not only Blair Park but also Carle Park. During that period our next-door neighbor was Anita Purves who shared her enthusiasm for nature and the parks in general. Her back yard was filled with native plants. It was nice to have her share not only her native plants but also her vision of what the Urbana Park District could become.

Our next move to the east edge of Urbana brought us closer to other parks specifically South Ridge and Meadowbrook. This gave us not only the opportunity to experience a small neighborhood park which we included in our various walks, but also our favorite park, Meadowbrook.

During that period I had the privilege of being a member of the Urbana Park District Advisory Committee (UPDAC) for three years. Although Greg and I had always enjoyed the parks, the UPDAC experience provided an education about what is involved in developing and maintaining the wonderful parks that we have in Urbana.

Although nature and the art have always been a great pleasure for us, we have also taken advantage of special tours not only in our local parks but visits to other sites around the state. We have appreciated the many programs and special events provided for all age groups.

Three and a half years ago we made our final move. Our new home is on the west edge of Meadowbrook Park so we are treated to many beautiful sunrises as we eat breakfast. We continue our practice of walking but now we also have the experience of watching the change of seasons on the prairie with different plants and animals (mostly deer, birds, and butterflies) phasing in and out during the year—an ideal situation for two biologists! But what lends a special beauty to the park are the wonderful sculptures one encounters along the paths.

Since 2015 I have been a trustee on the board of the Urbana Parks Foundation. This is not only an interesting experience but it has provided another opportunity to support the various parks, facilities, and programs of the Urbana Park District.