The Healing Power of Parks: Board Member Mary Magrinat’s Unique Perspective

Mary Magrinat and children

July 11, 2024

Mary Magrinat’s passion for nature and community service led her to join the Greensboro Parks Foundation Board of Directors in January of 2022. A consultant, nature photographer and dedicated volunteer, Mary brings a unique perspective to our organization, shaped by her transformative work with public spaces.

Mary was the driving force behind the creation of the Healing Gardens at Cone Health Cancer Center at Wesley Long Hospital, along with Sally Pagliai, the garden’s landscape designer. This project, born from her vision and dedication, has become a sanctuary for patients, families, and staff. Mary continues to volunteer her time and expertise to maintain and enhance these gardens, understanding firsthand the profound impact of nature on healing and well-being.

“I have a strong belief that nature promotes healing of mind, body, and spirit,” Mary shares. “People are happier and healthier when they are interacting with nature.” Her photography, displayed inside the Cancer Center, brings the outdoors in, further extending the gardens’ healing reach.

Mary’s experience with the Healing Gardens project has deepened her appreciation for Greensboro’s parks. “I’ve always admired Greensboro’s green spaces,” she notes, “but I didn’t realize how extensive our parks were until I joined the Foundation.” She’s been particularly impressed by the depth and breadth of programming offered, as well as the dedication of Greensboro Parks and Recreation staff.

Her involvement with the Foundation has sparked excitement about local parks like Smith Community Park and Active Adult Center. Mary envisions expanding this beloved neighborhood hub with walking trails and outdoor exercise equipment, enhancing its community impact.

Emphasizing that parks are for everyone, from children to older adults, Mary sees them as crucial to Greensboro’s attractiveness and economic development. She views the Greensboro Parks Foundation as a vital bridge between public funds and private philanthropy, ensuring our park system remains a stellar feature of life in Greensboro.

When not volunteering, Mary enjoys hiking, travel, photography, and reading. Her commitment to nature extends beyond the Healing Gardens and Parks Foundation; she’s also involved with Piedmont Land Conservancy. “I love the fact that these organizations all have nature as their driving force,” she says. “They each bring nature to people in different ways.”

To those considering supporting the Foundation, Mary says, “Donating your time and money to the Greensboro Parks Foundation is an excellent investment in our community and our people. Everyone benefits from our parks.”

Mary is particularly excited about upcoming projects, including improvements to Smith Community Park, the transformation of Gillespie Golf Course, and the Send a Kid to Camp program. Her enthusiasm for Greensboro’s parks and her firsthand experience with the healing power of nature make her an invaluable asset to our board. We’re grateful for her continued dedication to bringing the benefits of green spaces to our community!

By Paula Barger, Executive Director