top of page

Trail Mix

Picnic for the Park, the annual gala supporting the work of Memorial Park Conservancy, celebrates the natural beauty of parks

Photo credit: Daniel Ortiz  

General Editor: Margaret MacMillan

Publisher: Connie Kwan-Wong

The Celebration

The lovely Forest Club hosted close to 500 guests for the annual Picnic for the Park in support of Memorial Park Conservancy. The pretty event honored Emily and Robert Clay, who were the honorary chairs, and George Johnston, who was the Ima Hogg Volunteer of the Year. Ryan Korsgard, former news reporter with KPRC2, emceed.


The Story

This year’s soirée celebrated a banner year for the Memorial Park Conservancy, which manages and operates Memorial Park in partnership with the Houston Parks and Recreation Department. It also highlighted the progress of the master plan currently underway in the park.

Bringing the gala’s theme of Happy Trails to life, tables bloomed with bouquets of wild blossoms and delicate greenery. Event signs and table numbers mimicked trail signs, and the unique programs resembled park maps.

The Moments

The Forest Club prepared a wide variety of comfort foods that would have been perfect on any park picnic especially for the occasion. On offer were a mac and cheese bar, carving station, shrimp skewers and chips, and a hearty vegetable station. Guests arrived in their best picnic-chic garb and enjoyed tunes spun by DJ Damon Pampolina.

Over $380,000 was raised for the Memorial Park Conservancy.

Guests: Emily and Robert Clay, Nancy and Rich Kinder; Tammy and Steve Jenkins, Thomas Woltz, Shellye Arnold and Tina Sabuco, Cindy and Kendall Miller, Anita and Gerald Smith, Rosanna and Myron Blalock, Lainie Gordon and David Mincberg, Shannon and Mark Nini, Becky and Kelly Joy, and Duyen Huynh and Marc Nguyen

About Memorial Park Conservancy

Memorial Park Conservancy is a nonprofit organization created to restore, preserve, and enhance Memorial Park for the enjoyment of all Houstonians, now and in the future. Incorporated in 2000, the Conservancy’s vision is to implement the principles of world-class park management and stewardship in partnership with the Houston community. A volunteer board of directors is led by Chairman, Steve Jenkins, and a highly qualified staff works under the leadership of President & CEO, Shellye Arnold. As of February 2016, Memorial Park Conservancy is operationally responsible for managing 1,100 of the park’s 1,500 acres, including the green spaces, open spaces, and trails. 

For more information on Memorial Park Conservancy, please visit:

About Memorial Park Master Plan

On April 1, 2015, Houston City Council unanimously approved the long-range Master Plan for Memorial Park. The plan, which provides a comprehensive vision to create a healthy balance between conservation and recreation, was designed by award-winning landscape architects Nelson Byrd Woltz. A collaborative partnership between the Memorial Park Conservancy, the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, and the Uptown Houston Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone led the planning process with input from stakeholder groups and the general public.  Seeking to enhance, preserve, and protect Memorial Park for years to come, the Master Plan projects identified for early attention were selected to meet the wide variety of user needs within the park.  The first project of the master plan, the Eastern Glades, will open in 2020. The $36 million project has over 100 acres and will itself be one of the largest new parks in Houston. It includes a 5-acre lake, picnic areas, the expansion of the Seymour Lieberman Running Trail to a full three miles, restroom facilities, and a food truck area. Funding for Master Plan projects will come from both public and private sources.  

For more information on the Master Plan, please visit

bottom of page