By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Sep 17, 2020 at 10:32 AM

This week, painted hearts popped up in two Downtown parks, Pere Marquette and Cathedral Square, to introduce the new "Love Your Parks" campaign that encourages park lovers to express their support on social media and possibly volunteer.

The initiative celebrates two events: the Downtown Employee Appreciation Week organized by Milwaukee Downtown BID #21, and the Love Your Parks campaign, organized by Milwaukee County Parks.

Because of the pandemic, the celebration looks different this year.

"Each year, Downtown Employee Appreciation Week draws in thousands to our downtown parks for free lunches and office challenge games," says Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21. "While this year's event reflects health and safety guidelines, we've found new ways to express our gratitude to downtown's 93,000 employees and 30+ acres of parks and green spaces, especially with our new social distancing hearts at Cathedral Square Park and Pere Marquette Park." 

The Love Your Parks campaign wants to hear from Milwaukeeans on why they love their parks through the hashtag #loveyourparksmke. They are also asking people to micro-volunteer by becoming a "Brew Hero" and to consider becoming a founding member of the newly formed non-profit Milwaukee Parks Foundation, www.mkeparksfoundation.org.

The Love Your Parks campaign website at www.loveyourparksmke.com explains how park dwellers can share their stories about their favorite parks, volunteer and/or donate to the Milwaukee Parks Foundation. The site also features a downloadable Parks Explorer app that provides lots of information about all of the county parks.

Due to the pandemic, the parks underwent spending freezes after already enduring years of budget cuts that impacted staffing levels, service levels and basic operations. Thus, there's a lengthy backlog of deferred maintenance needs.

“We know that Milwaukee residents really need their parks and trails – particularly during this time of pandemic – and usage has skyrocketed over the spring and summer," says Guy Smith, Executive Director of the Milwaukee County Parks. "Right now though, our parks are in desperate need of some love too."

Molly Snyder grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.

As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.

She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that. 

Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.

Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.

In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!

When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.