Patch was introduced recently to the friendly acorn who became the new mascot of the Pasco County Parks and Recreation department just in time for the department’s fortieth anniversary.
Nate took some time to chat with Patch about himself and his new job. Check out our interview with him.
Patch: Tell us a little about
yourself. How old are you and what species of tree did you come from?
Where does that tree grow in Pasco? Do you still live there?
Nate: My Dad is a live oak and my Mom is a white oak; which makes me a hybrid. In tree years I am about two and a half, which makes me close to 13 in people years. I come from Withlacoochee River Park in Dade City where my parents are in charge of shade, but I currently make my way around to visit all Pasco County Parks.
Patch: Why are you called Nate?
Nate: Nate is short for Nature. My parents named me Nate because they say I was so intrigued and fascinated with everything Nature from the day I was born.
Patch: How did you do become the new mascot for Pasco Parks and Rec?
Nate: My friend Parky the Raccoon, the original mascot for Pasco County Parks and Recreation, was telling me that he could use some help getting the word out about all the wonderful things they have to offer. He knew I was the right nut for the job, so here I am; ready to help promote Pasco Parks and Recreation!
Patch: You've just been given your
"5 minutes of fame"? How are you going to use them?
Nate: I would say “Get Nuts about Parks!” I am going make everyone aware that we simply need to play outdoors! Why should it only be the children that remind us of that? We all need to take a little time and enjoy our parks. Look around and see what Pasco County Parks and Recreation has to offer. A park is a playful place for games and fun, events and parties, sports, storytelling, music and much more! Enjoy your parks!
Patch: What do you like to do for
fun? What are the most fun things to do at Pasco parks?
Nate: There are so many to name, but recently I have been enjoying kayaking. There is a Paddling Pasco group that has been getting together and taking fun trips around Pasco County. I also look forward to their special events! I know there are a bunch of Halloween events coming up and I can’t wait to get my costume on and go!
Nate: Can I ride my skateboard at a park?
Patch: There is a Skate Park at the Land O’ Lakes Recreation Complex. All you need is a helmet, board and a signed waiver and you are ready to ride. I get stoked when I perform an ollie dude!
Patch: Can I bring my dog to the park?
Nate: There are two dog parks, one at Anclote Gulf Park and the other at the Land O’ Lakes Recreation Complex. There are also several other locations that dogs are permitted, but they must remain on a 6 foot leash at all times; Crews Lake Wilderness Park, Key Vista Nature Park, Lake Lisa Park, Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park, Veterans Memorial Park, Wesley Chapel District Park and Withlacoochee River Park.
Patch: What makes going to a park
Nate: There is so much to do in parks! Parks offer a wide range of activities suitable for all ages and interests to get outside and get active. Parks are key to connecting with our natural and historic treasures in order to preserve them. They also provide the setting for social events where the community can connect with each other, and participate in classes and group activities for personal enrichment. You can’t do all this playing a video game.
Patch: What's the
"corniest" pun or joke you've ever heard?
Nate:There are two I enjoy;
What did the acorn say when he grew up? – Gee, I’m a tree.
What did one squirrel say to the other squirrel? – Nut going to tell ya!
Patch: What else would you like families and kids to know about Pasco Parks and rec centers?
Nate: “Something for everyone” is the Pasco County Parks and Recreation Department goal. They offer countless benefits to residents fortunate enough to have them near where they live. They serve as an affordable place for people to exercise, enjoy nature, and spend time with their family and friends. It starts in parks!
Alex Fasano is the parks and recreation supervisor for Pasco County and the man behind Nate the Acorn. He told Patch a little about how and why Nate became the new mascot for Pasco parks.
Pasco County Parks and Recreation has so many great things going on, but we needed to find a new creative way to get the word on what we have to offer. With no marketing budget and limited funding, I started researching to see what our department could do. I came across an article on mascots and how they have been around for ages but are currently becoming the best social media and website accessories, and I knew our department needed to get on Facebook and start promoting more. The Parky the Raccoon mascot outfit is a little outdated, although we are still hopeful to have the funding one day to make an updated suit, so I started brainstorming and came up with this silly idea of an acorn.
First I created a digital image, but after office staff had started to get behind the whole Nate idea, it turned into another concept. I thought about Flat Stanley, the 1964 children’s book, and how to this day people still take a paper cutout kid to places and take their picture with him. The West Pasco Quilters’ Guild was gracious enough to make the plush Nate and help bring him to life so to say.
Hopefully when people see Nate, they will identify him with Pasco County Parks and Recreation. We want to have fun with it, nothing serious, but the goal is to show off our events, programs, projects and parks with the help of Nate. There has been so much positive feedback on Nate since his introduction. There are plans to collaborate on a project with Libraries, make guest appearances at venues such as EcoFest, and have meetings and photos with County Officials.Find out more about Pasco's parks at http://www.pascocountyfl.net/index.aspx?NID=252, and find Nate at the Parks and Rec Facebook page.