Families can enjoy free, outdoor fun at Erie's Frontier Park. 
The park's nonprofit partner is LEAF, Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park.

Vernon Peterson's is the Executive Director of LEAF. He says, "We have an operating agreement with the City of Erie. We have made nearly $5 million of improvements to Frontier Park in our 21 year history."

It's all community supported through fundraising efforts that have changed the landscape of the park.

Peterson says, "It (LEAF) kind of formed on an idea to bring an arboretum to Frontier Park and have it as our home," said Peterson. "Subsequently we've been here, built an education center, an outdoor amphitheater." 

Leaf's newest recreational feature is for people of all ages, the Griff slides. 

Bob Himes of Erie says, "My grandchildren went down so I decided that I would give it a try and I went down also for the first time." He went on to say, "They (the slides) were actually very fun and weren't so fast you had to worry, but fast enough."

The connection to the community has grown, and LEAF has a sister organization called Re-LEAF.

It's Leaf's direct response to climate change.

Re-Leaf Director of Operations & Marketing, Erin Green, says " It is an initiative we started in 2020 to plant 275,000 trees in Erie County and that's one for each resident." 

Green says Re-LEAF works to take environmental education into the community, specifically schools, teaching children the importance of planting trees and how they protect the environment.

Several school communities have already embraced this in Erie County.

"We get most of the trees for free," said Green. "They come from Keystone 10-Million Trees which is an organization in Pennsylvania that supplies lots of different trees to lots of different counties." 

It provides trees for residents and business owners.

When it comes to the reach of LEAF, public events like the the Blues and Jazz Festival, and the Corgi Festival are held at Frontier Park. Private events can also be held by renting the LEAF building. 

All this is done within the neighborhood park, where simple outdoor scenes, and fun, make this... A Community Gem. 

For details on LEAF or RE-Leaf, contact the office