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AUGUST 2019 W W W. N R PA . O R G

KRISTINE STRATTON

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The Rural Connection | NRPA Annual Conference Highlights | 2019 Salary Survey


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contents august 2019

PHOTO BY AARON CLAMAGE

volume 54 | number 8 | www.parksandrecreation.org

FEATURES

2019 ANNUAL CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS

38 A Park and Rec Kid Comes Full Circle

52 Insider’s Tips for Navigating the NRPA Annual Conference

Sonia Myrick

Parks & Recreation magazine sat down with NRPA’s new president and CEO, Kristine Stratton, who shared about how her past experiences have informed her career path, what constitutes her leadership style and why she so readily identifies as a park and rec kid.

46 The Rural Connection Vitisia Paynich

The communities of Bennettsville, South Carolina, and Winooski, Vermont — both with rural park agencies representing populations of less than 9,000 — have signed on to the 10-Minute Walk and are taking their efforts in this initiative to the next level. Learn how this campaign is influencing their park and rec objectives, how social equity plays a key role and how these opportunities will help engage community members and stakeholders. 6

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53 Unique Learning Opportunities for Directors 54 Some ‘Not-to-Be-Missed’ Special Events! 56 How Is a Park and Rec Agency Like a Swiss Army Knife? 57 Don’t Miss the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference Closing Session! 59 Exhibit Hall at a Glance


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contents august

columns 10 Perspectives

departments 14 Research The 2019 NRPA Park and Recreation Salary Survey Kevin Roth, Ph.D.

Partnerships in Parks Movement Jack Kardys

12 Editor’s Letter Embracing Change Sonia Myrick

22 Advocacy

16 Park Pulse .Do Americans Support Local Revitalization Projects?

18 Member to Member Adult Social Tennis League Programs in Local Parks Erin Maher

62 NRPA Update „„ Member Spotlight: Attiyya Atkins 62 „„ Call for Photos 63 „„ Connect Hot Topics 64 „„ Member Benefit: There’s Power in Partnership 64 „„ A Tool to Help Measure Green Infrastructure Benefits 65 „„ Parks & Recreation Crossword 66 „„ Professional Development Calendar 67

68 Operations „„ Creating a Destination Aqua Playground for All Abilities 68 Bill Hachmeister, AFO „„ Flying High in Buenaventura Park 70 Betty Sosnin

Introducing the Recipients of the 2019 Congressional Park Champion of the Year Award Kyle Simpson

24 Law Review . vertime Work Racial Discrimination Claim O James C. Kozlowski, J.D., Ph.D.

30 Health & Wellness Connecting Communities Through Outdoor Play Enhances Eight Local Parks Maureen Acquino

32 Conservation The Results Are in from the Parks for Pollinators Inaugural Bioblitz! Michele White, CAE, IOM

34 Social Equity Parks Build Community 2019 Suzanne Nathan

74 Products 75 Park Essentials 79 Advertiser Index 80 Park Bench Columbia’s Agriculture Park Lindsay Collins

Cover image: Photo by Aaron Clamage

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Page 34


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P E RS P E C T I V E S A M E S S A G E F R O M N R PA’ S L E A D E RS

Partnerships in Parks Movement When I became board chair, I described three basic strategies that would best represent our support, education and innovation for NRPA members: collaborating, partnering and developing a nationwide parks movement that builds on 10-Minute Walk; earning the nation’s respect by owning the voices of our pillars, taking deeper dives into research that equips members with resiliency, urban revitalization and economic-impact data; and building our philanthropic capacity to provide the resources needed to sustain this nationwide parks movement. If one of the hallmarks of a great community is a great park system, it is this community building through partnering with like-minded organizations and an unyielding commitment to health, conservation and social equity that makes your and NRPA’s work the solution to so many of the challenges this planet and its inhabitants face in the next 100 years. It is this connection and commitment to collaboration that drove the selection of NRPA’s new CEO and our strategic planning. The fundamentals of a collaborative organizational culture and great partnerships involve entities agreeing to cooperate to advance their mutual interests, increase their reach and ultimately achieve their respective missions through defined strategic outcomes. These partnerships can produce business and nonprofit consortia, joint ventures, advocacy, alliances and shared marketing. Partnering and collaboration created NRPA. In the early 1960s, several U.S. organizations involved in parks and recreation collaborated to form the National Recreation and Park Association. Today, NRPA is perhaps the leading U.S. nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of public parks, recreation and conservation, drawing national focus to the far-reaching impact of our 62,000 members who represent parks and public spaces in urban communities, rural settings and everything in between. Some of the many NRPA partnerships that have produced great results include: 10

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• 10-Minute Walk, a nationwide movement, has brought more than 220 mayors together to support increasing equitable park access and quality through local policy changes and increased sustainable funding commitments. • Our Commit to Health campaign supports 2,080 park sites, with 386 agencies pledged and, annually, 481,240 youth receiving improved access to healthy foods and physical activity opportunities. • Our Great Urban Parks Campaign promotes climate resiliency, while providing increased access to nature and outdoor recreation in underserved communities. • Our Healthy Aging in Parks campaign expands partnerships with healthcare organizations and collaborates with health insurers for inclusion of evidence-based programs as health and wellness benefits and reimbursement for local park and recreation program offerings. • The ongoing relationship with our state associations coordinates education, messaging and advocacy and helps develop not only great park professionals, but also the future board members and leaders of our respective organizations. • Our partnerships with academia are measuring the economic impact of parks and public spaces and making the case for a balanced, sustainable public investment. One of NRPA’s new strategic goals involves harnessing public will to support parks by engaging public and nonprofit partners. It is coalitions, alliances and partnerships that help build resilient systems of great parks across our nation. If resiliency is our watchword and priority, it is collaboration that ensures best practices and credible messaging. It is partnered campaign tactics and marketing that elevate the aspirations of all citizens to demand great parks in their hometowns. And, it is alliances that produce the political leverage that influences local political discourse and leads to sustainable funding for parks and recreation.

JACK K ARDYS Chair, NRPA Board of Directors


2 2377 Belmont Ridge Rd. | Ashburn, VA 20148 703.858.0784 | www.nrpa.org

NRPA’S MISSION: To advance parks, recreation and environmental conservation efforts that enhance the quality of life for all people. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Chair of the Board of Directors Jack Kardys J. Kardys Strategies Miami, Florida

Chair-Elect Michael Kelly Chicago Park District Chicago, Illinois Treasurer Xavier D. Urrutia City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation San Antonio, Texas

Secretary Karen Bates Kress Park Advocate Emigrant, Montana

President and CEO Kristine Stratton National Recreation and Park Association Ashburn, Virginia

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Michael Abbaté, FASLA Abbaté Designs Portland, Oregon

Jesús Aguirre, CPRE Seattle Parks and Recreation Seattle, Washington

Leon T. Andrews, Jr. National League of Cities Washington, D.C.

Neelay Bhatt PROS Consulting Indianapolis, Indiana

Hayden Brooks American Realty Corporation Austin, Texas

Kong Chang

Jack Kardys

J. Kardys Strategies Miami, Florida

Michael Kelly

Chicago Park District Chicago, Illinois

Karen Bates Kress Park Advocate Emigrant, Montana

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University of Miami School of Architecture; Miller School of Medicine Department of Public Health Sciences Miami, Florida

Carolyn McKnight, CPRP Previously with BREC Dallas, Texas

Joshua Medeiros, CPRP, AFO

City of Bristol Parks & Recreation Bristol, Connecticut

Herman Parker

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Atlanta Beltline, Inc. Atlanta, Georgia

Xavier D. Urrutia

City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation San Antonio, Texas

Greg A. Weitzel, CPRP

City of Las Vegas Parks and Recreation Las Vegas, Nevada

LIFE TRUSTEES Beverly D. Chrisman

Lexington, South Carolina

Anne S. Close

City of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Saint Paul, Minnesota

Fort Mill, South Carolina

Kevin Coyle

New York, New York

National Wildlife Federation Reston, Virginia

Rosemary Hall Evans

Sugar Hill, New Hampshire

Jose Felix Diaz

Earl T. Groves

Ballard Partners Miami, Florida

Gastonia, North Carolina

Charles E. Hartsoe, Ph.D.

Victor Dover

Richmond, Virginia

Dover, Kohl & Partners Town Planning Miami, Florida

Harry G. Haskell, Jr.

Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania

Richard Gulley

Kathryn A. Porter

City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department San Diego, California

Mendham, New Jersey

Perry J. Segura

Roslyn Johnson, CPRP

R. Dean Tice

Previously with Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Greenbelt, Maryland

Eugene A. Young, CPRP

PROVIDING A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT SHOULD BE A WALK IN THEPARKS PARK

James H. Evans

New Iberia, Louisiana Round Hill, Virginia Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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EDITOR’S LETTER

Embracing Change Change always brings with it a mixture of emotions, most notably excitement and anxiety — excitement about what’s to come but anxiety about what those changes may be/mean for the individual and their “community.” Over the past two months, we here at headquarters have had the pleasure of welcoming and getting to know NRPA’s new president and CEO, Kristine Stratton. And, in another month, at the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, you’ll have the opportunity to get to know her a bit better as well. In this short time, however, one thing is apparent, she is not afraid of change, and her excitement about carrying us through this next chapter in the NRPA history books is contagious. We hope you’re excited, too! Parks and Recreation recently had the opportunity to spend some time with Stratton to learn what drives her passion for the environment, health and wellness and issues of justice and equity. In “A Park and Rec Kid Comes Full Circle” on page 38, she shares how her past experiences have informed her career path and continue to drive her passion. Taking on a new initiative can also cause that same mixture of the emotions of excitement and anxiety, as you look at a goal you’re trying to achieve through a different lens. In “The Rural Connection” on page 44, contributor Vitisia Paynich delves into the efforts of two rural park agencies — Bennettsville, South Carolina, and Winooski, Vermont — tasked with helping to fulfill the 10-Minute Walk pledge of ensuring all their residents are within a 10-minute walk of a park. See what underlying issues they discovered as they went through the process of doing the research for and completing the grant application. Finally, the NRPA Annual Conference is a multifaceted event and, starting on page 50, we provide tips and details about several of the unique learning opportunities and events scheduled to take place this year in Baltimore. Check out the exhibitor listing to see the breadth of products and services that you can, in many cases, literally take for a test ride. The annual conference is, after all, the largest gathering of knowledge and product experts in the country! We hope to see you in Baltimore, where you’ll have the chance to meet the new president and CEO, connect with old and make some new friends and discover new ways of managing some existing challenges or some new-to-you ideas to take back home and implement.

SONIA MYRICK Executive Editor

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PRESIDENT AND CEO Kristine Stratton VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING, COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLISHING, AND EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Gina Mullins-Cohen gcohen@nrpa.org EXECUTIVE EDITOR Sonia Myrick smyrick@nrpa.org ASSOCIATE EDITOR Lindsay Collins lcollins@nrpa.org EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTOR Suzanne Nathan snathan@nrpa.org PUBLICATION DESIGN Kim Mabon/Creative By Design CreativeByDesign.net SENIOR SALES MANAGER EASTERN REGION AND EUROPE Kip Ongstad 703.858.2174 kongstad@nrpa.org SENIOR SALES MANAGER WESTERN REGION AND ASIA Michelle Dellner 949.248.1057 mdellner@nrpa.org SALES COORDINATOR Meghan Fredriksen 703.858.2190 mfredriksen@nrpa.org PHOTOGRAPHY Dreamstime.com or NRPA (unless otherwise noted) MAGAZINE ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS Michael Abbaté, FASLA Anthony-Paul Diaz Ryan Eaker Robert García Kathleen Gibi Paul Gilbert, CPRP Tim Herd, CPRE Brian Johnson, CPSI Roslyn Johnson, CPRP Michele Lemons Sam Mendelsohn Maria Nardi Lisa Paradis, CPRP Gil Peñalosa Paula Sliefert Shonnda Smith, CPRP, AFO Anne-Marie Spencer Stephen Springs


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RESEARCH The 2019 NRPA Park and Recreation Salary Survey A resource to help you attract and retain the best and brightest employees By Kevin Roth, Ph.D.

T

he job market is hot, with the unemployment rate at a multi-decade low. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that there were 1.5 million more unfilled job openings on the final day of April than there were unemployed adults. This was the largest shortage of skilled workers in the nearly 30 years of the BLS data series.

The message to park and recreation leaders is clear: While labor market conditions can vary significantly by locale, park and recreation agencies must compete not only with neighboring agencies, but also with all other employers when staffing their teams. One competitive advantage park and recreation leaders have is access to comprehensive compensation data that highlight how agencies can attract and retain the best and brightest team members. This is where the 2019 NRPA Park and Recreation Salary Survey (www. nrpa.org/salary-survey) report comes in. Based on the responses from 479 agencies to a 35-question

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Parks & Recreation

survey, this report provides a snapshot of salary data for the following 10 park and recreation professions: • Park and Recreation Agency Director • Planning Director • Director of Administrative • Recreation Director • Park Operations Director • Park Operations Facilities Manager • Athletics Supervisor • Aquatics Supervisor • Recreation Programs Coordinator No two park and recreation agencies are the same. Hence, the report includes detailed salary comparisons based on agency size, type and char-

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acteristics of the persons in the positions (e.g., education, certifications and years in the profession). Regular pay raises are an essential component of an employer’s compensation plan to keep team members engaged and motivated. Agencies adjust their employees’ salaries based on a variety of factors, including individual performance, cost-of-living adjustments, increased responsibilities, step raises and union-negotiated requirements. Between 2018 and 2019, the 10 park and recreation professional job titles saw their base salaries increase by between 2.5 percent and 3.4 percent.

Compensation Goes Beyond Salaries As paychecks are just one part of workers’ compensation, the report also presents detailed information on benefits. Valuable employee benefits, including generous vacation and sick-leave policies, health and dental insurance, and retirement plans, put additional dollars in workers’ pockets and improve their standard of living. The key report findings on benefits include the following: • Park and recreation agencies typically provide 10 days of annual vacation to their newly hired full-time employees. Median annual vacation benefits rise to 20 days after 10 years of service to the agency. • Park and recreation agencies cover a median 80 percent of their


employees’ health insurance premiums. Some agencies pick up an even larger portion of the tab, with 35 percent of agencies paying for 90 percent or more of their employees’ health insurance premiums. • Nearly 4 in 5 park and recreation agencies offer a defined benefit (DB) retirement program (i.e., pension plan) to newly hired, full-time employees. Two-thirds of agencies offer a defined contribution (DC) plan (e.g., 401k or 403b) either in conjunction with a DB plan or as the employee’s sole retirement benefit offering. • An overwhelming majority of agencies also provide their fulltime workers with other valuable benefits, including: • Dental • Continuing education • Life insurance • Vision • Employee assistance/counseling

state minimum wage that is higher than the federal minimum wage). Seasonal staff frequently receive the agency’s minimum wage rate. In fact, approximately half of all seasonal employees at the typical park and recreation agency receive the agency’s minimum wage rate when hired. Nearly 4 in 5 park and recreation agencies, however, may hire a seasonal worker above their minimum wage based on several factors, including the employee’s experience, the specific responsibilities and duties of the position or the worker meeting a certain education or certification criteria.

Dig into the Report Today Park and recreation professionals choose to be a part of the field because of the opportunity to make

a real and lasting difference in the lives of many people. The impactful work of park and recreation agencies could not happen without the dedication of the more than 150,000 full-time professionals and the several hundred thousand additional part-time and seasonal workers. As rewarding as the work is, however, park and recreation agencies must offer competitive compensation to attract and retain the best people. The data presented in the 2019 NRPA Park and Recreation Salary Survey report, along with its sample job descriptions and organization charts, will guide agency leaders to design a compensation offering that will attract the best team for their department. Kevin Roth, Ph.D., is NRPA’s Vice President of Professional Development, Research and Technology (kroth@nrpa.org).

Part-Time and Seasonal Workers Part-time and seasonal workers are essential contributors to the park and recreation agency team. Often, parttime and seasonal workers are in frontline customer service positions, such as serving as a lifeguard at a pool, being an aide or instructor at a summer camp or staffing the front customer help desk at a recreation center. New to the 2019 report is compensation information for these critical contributors to park and recreation agencies. Part-time and seasonal employees typically receive compensation at or just above the minimum wage. The lowest hourly wage paid by 7 in 10 park and recreation agencies is the statutory minimum wage for which it is subject (whether that be the federal minimum wage or a locality/

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NRPA PARK PULSE

Americans Support Local Park Improvement Projects

4 IN 5

Americans want their local government to fund park and recreation revitalization projects, including the restoration of parks, playgrounds, recreation centers and community centers.

More than half of Americans completely support or strongly support the revitalization of these spaces.

66%

64%

59%

Parents

Millennials

Americans Overall

Each month, through a poll of Americans that is focused on park and recreation issues, NRPA Park Pulse helps tell the park and recreation story. Questions span from the serious to the more lighthearted. The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com).

Visit nrpa.org/ParkPulse for more information.


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MEMBER TO MEMBER Adult Social Tennis League Programs in Local Parks By Erin Maher

T

he game of tennis, once viewed as an elite sport open to a select few, is more accessible than ever before, thanks to the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) adult social play programs. “Adult social programs should really be understood from the mindset of ‘social first, tennis second,’” says Elliott Pettit, director of program development for the USTA. “They represent an opportunity to introduce tennis in a fun, noncompetitive environment that requires no prior experience to enjoy.” Customizable Programming Social play programs are akin to intramural softball or adult kickball programs, which allow participants

PHOTOS COURTESY OF USTA

Social play tennis programs allow participants to fulfill their desire for competition, while keeping the focus on fun, meeting new people and hanging out with friends.

to satisfy their desire for competition, while keeping the focus on fun, meeting new people and hanging out with friends. These programs are unique and innovative, can be customized to a specific community’s needs and can further diversify a park’s programming options. Public parks are the perfect venue, with many programs currently running nationwide. Following are a few examples of the play options that are available:

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Public parks are the perfect venue for social play programs, which can be customized to a specific community’s needs.

Gainesville, Florida In Gainesville, the “Love to Learn” and “Love to Play” programs held at the Joyce Oransky Tennis Center at Albert Ray Massey (Westside) Park offer a two-tiered approach that’s custom designed for adult beginners to learn tennis in a fun, fast-paced, no-pressure environment. “Love to Learn,” which is facilitated by USTA Florida, provides six weeks of play, court time and pro fees for $25. No racquet? No problem. The program also offers loaner racquets to participants if needed. During the six weeks, tennis pros work with participants

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MEMBER TO MEMBER

Adult social tennis league programs can help further diversify a park’s programming options.

on shot basics, such as the forehand, backhand and volley, while fellow participants support and encourage one another. A player who completes the “Love to Learn” can then transition to “Love to Play.” This three-week program pairs these players with tennis ambassadors and mentors in the community so they can continue to hone their skills and feel even more welcomed to play the sport. “Feeling welcomed is a major part of tennis when picking up a racquet and trying to become a part of a community,” says Chris Champion, head pro for USTA Florida. The 20 Parks & Recreation

mentors and ambassadors help participants learn on-court etiquette, scoring, how to call lines and the rules of regular match play. Since the inception of “Love to Learn” and “Love to Play” in February 2019, there have been 60 participants who have completed the program. “The ‘Love to Learn’ program has been very well-received,” says Jeff Moffitt, recreation supervisor for the city of Gainesville. “People, who would normally be intimidated, are coming out and finding out that it’s such a fun environment to get involved in the game.” Arlington, Virginia Operating out of the Quincy Park tennis courts, the Arlington County Tennis Association (ACTA) Practice

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Series is a weekly social drop-in opportunity for players of all skill levels. Established in 1989, the ACTA is a volunteer-run, nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote tennis within the community. It is also responsible for the maintenance and growth of quality public tennis facilities within Arlington. While the ACTA has hosted a robust USTA League community for years, the USTA Mid-Atlantic section was interested in helping it expand its offerings. ACTA wanted to focus less on competition and more on social engagement and leverage the group’s already-established relationship with the park and recreation department. So, in 2017, the ACTA Practice Series was born.


Practice Series is a five-week program that costs participants $55, which covers 1¼ hours of court time each week and includes the tennis balls. It is well-suited for beginners, with a session devoted to players who have a National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) level of 2.5 to 3.5, and another for players with an NTRP rating of 3.5 to 4.0. The NTRP classification system identifies and describes general characteristics of tennis-playing ability, with levels ranging from 1.5 (beginner) through 7.0 (touring pro). “The Practice Series is the vehicle that gives another option to those folks looking for something more social,” says Morgan-Abrams Nichols, vice chair for the USTA Adult Social Play Committee. When participants

arrive at the Practice Series, a social coordinator is there to help pair players of the same level with each other. They are encouraged to spend their court time either rallying with other players, engaging in friendly match play or even participating in a rallying game with their opponent(s). In the past two years, this program has had an impressive 70 percent retention rate, averaging approximately 20 players per session. The Practice Series has been instrumental in growing camaraderie, and tennis, in the Arlington community. Getting a League Started Adult social play tennis programs are ideal for getting people in the game and, most importantly, engaged with others in the community.

Adult social play tennis programs are ideal for getting people in the game and, most importantly, engaged with others in the community. The USTA is committed to helping to grow and foster these programs nationwide and has equipment and grants available to help you get your program started, today. For more information on how to include a social tennis program in your park and recreation department’s offerings, visit usta.com/ adultsocialplay. Erin Maher is the former Content Producer/Editor with the USTA (USTAedit@usta.com). @usta

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ADVOCACY

Introducing the Recipients of the 2019 Congressional Park Champion of the Year Award By Kyle Simpson

M

embers of Congress are taking their annual leave from the nation’s capital to head back home to their local districts. In our July column, we encouraged you to be a Park Champion and invite them and their staff out to your agencies to see your programs in action. Outside of contacting them to get their support on important pieces of legislation that affect parks and recreation, having them witness how that support on the Hill plays out back home is one of the most impactful things you can do. Over the years, we’ve recognized those members who have been outstanding Park Champions. The reality is, however, that we could not accomplish things like the recent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund without the support of our congressional members. So, this year, NRPA is introducing

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the Congressional Park Champion of the Year Award, which recognizes Members of Congress who stepped up this year and helped us to achieve important policy victories. Four Members of Congress are being recognized with this year’s awards: Sen. Richard Burr (RNC), Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-

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WA). Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), This inaugural class of awardees have been champions of the work NRPA members do daily. They were nominated by NRPA members from across the country and selected by the NRPA Public Policy staff and the NRPA Public Policy Committee. Our two Park Champions from the Senate, who support our critical reauthorization push for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF):

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) Sen. Burr is a champion of the Land and Water Conservation


Fund (LWCF), and his leadership helped ensure that the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, passed earlier this year, included permanent reauthorization of LWCF — NRPA members rely on LWCF for financial support. Sen. Burr played a key role in securing permanent reauthorization of LWCF, a huge victory for NRPA members, and is now part of a bipartisan group of senators who introduced legislation to permanently fund LWCF.

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) Sen. Cantwell, who previously served as the Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is one of LWCF’s greatest champions. She is an ardent supporter of parks and public land issues, and her negotiations led to the inclusion of permanent LWCF reauthorization in the Public Lands Package. Currently, she serves as the Ranking Member on the Senate Commerce Committee. Our two Park Champions from the House of Representatives, who support NRPA’s goals to maintain critical services for children, including healthy meals programs:

ports access to greenways in North Carolina’s 5th Congressional District, which she serves. Rep. Foxx believes in the power of education in and outside the classroom and frequently visits Mount Airy Parks and Recreation, where she helps hand out meals to young campers. “Local parks are cherished and beautiful places in all of our communities, offering a wide range of amenities that bring people together and facilitate active, healthy lifestyles. I’m proud to be recognized as a Park Champion for my work on behalf of these community treasures, but even more proud of the dedicated park and recreation staff and advocates in North Carolina’s Fifth District. Without them, these precious spaces would not be as impeccable nor accessible for everyone to enjoy.”

Kyle Simpson is NRPA’s Senior Government Affairs Manager (ksimpson@nrpa.org).

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Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) Rep. DeLauro, Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education, is a staunch advocate for the nation’s anti-hunger and poverty programs and works to ensure that all children have access to quality education and nutritious meals. Her support for the 21st Century Community Learning Program, which funds out-of-school time enrichment and educational activities, coupled with her support of federal health initiatives, such as the Pool Safely program, demonstrates her commitment to parks and recreation.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) Rep. Foxx, who serves as the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, is a strong advocate for access to meals for school-age children, including federal summer and afterschool nutrition programs that support the out-of-school time programming offered by more than 5,000 park and recreation agencies nationwide. She also sup

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LAW REVIEW

Overtime Work Racial Discrimination Claim By James C. Kozlowski, J.D., Ph.D.

I

n the case of Johnson v. City of Evansville, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76513 (S.D. Ind. 5/7/2019), plaintiff Ernest Johnson worked on the mowing crew for the City of Evansville Parks Department. Unlike his Caucasian co-worker, Johnson claimed he was denied opportunities to work overtime because he is African American. Accordingly, Johnson sued the city of Evansville, alleging race discrimination and a hostile work environment in violation of Title VII of federal civil rights law. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits an employer from discriminating against any individual with respect to his “compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin” (42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1)). In response, the city filed a motion for summary judgment with the federal district court to deny Johnson’s claims. To survive summary judg-

24 Parks & Recreation

ment on a Title VII discrimination claim, the court noted: “a plaintiff must present evidence that would permit a reasonable factfinder [i.e., judge or jury] to conclude that the plaintiff’s race, ethnicity, sex, religion, or other proscribed factor caused the discharge [or adverse employment action].”

Facts of the Case In 2016, Johnson worked as a laborer in the Department of Parks

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and Recreation for the city. Charles Mangold was the parks department’s maintenance supervisor from 2014 until he retired in March 2017. In spring 2016, the parks department had three mowing crews comprised of two individuals each. Johnson was assigned to a two-person mowing crew, and his partner was Reggie Haskins, who is also African American. Johnson and the other parks department mowers were members of the Chauffeurs, Teamsters and Helpers Local Union No. 215. The union and the city entered into a collective bargaining agreement (CBA). While the CBA established rules for assigning overtime, these overtime rules would not apply to departments, where “there has been


established a specific method of assigning overtime.” Brian Holtz, parks department executive director, testified that the parks department already had set a policy for assigning overtime and that overtime was assigned by seniority. Mangold also testified that overtime was assigned based on seniority. Similarly, Rick Norman, parks department mowing employee and current Union Steward, testified that overtime was offered based on seniority. This practice of offering overtime based on seniority was neither in writing, nor was there a list of employees by seniority. Mangold did not testify regarding how he actually assigned overtime after ascertaining who was interested. When Johnson first started working at the parks department, Mangold would ask who wanted to work overtime, people would raise their hands and Mangold would record who had raised their hand. Johnson was never told, or made aware, of the parks department’s practice of assigning overtime based on seniority. This practice was in place before Johnson became a parks department employee. Out of the six employees on the seniority list for the parks department mowing crew, Johnson was fourth and was behind Rick Norman. The parks department would often get information throughout the  day indicating something needed to be completed that would require overtime work, and Mangold would first offer the overtime to the most senior employee, Terry Bodell. Bodell would usually turn down overtime opportunities because he did not like to work overtime, so Mangold would then offer overtime opportunities to the next most senior employee, Rick Norman. In April 2016, Mangold advised

parks department employees that, as a result of significant grass growth that spring, there would be overtime opportunities available to all parks department mowers until he told them differently. Mangold offered overtime to everyone who was available so they could get caught up on mowing. Mangold permitted Johnson to work overtime on the first three days of the week of April 7, 2016. As the parks department got caught up on mowing, Mangold informed employees that the overtime arrangement had ended and no more overtime would be scheduled. Norman, however, who is white and who is senior to Johnson, worked overtime that day and the next. On April 27, 2016, following a series of storms and tornadoes that had hit the area, Johnson was tasked with cutting grass. Although he followed these instructions, Mangold harshly questioned Johnson as to what he had been doing the previous day. Johnson replied that he had cut grass and picked up paper, trash and tree limbs. Mangold became angry and told Johnson that other employees had been assigned to pick up debris, and Johnson should not have done so. According to Johnson, Mangold belittled him in front of other employees for not doing enough work, and he was the only one reprimanded at that time. On May 4, 5, 6, and 11, 2016, Norman was authorized to work overtime, but Johnson “was not extended the same opportunity for overtime.” Johnson testified that he did not know why Mangold offered overtime to Norman rather than to him.

EEOC Charge

On May 4, 2016, Johnson filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity

Commission (EEOC). Johnson alleged discrimination based on race. He claimed Norman was allowed to work overtime, but he was not afforded the opportunity to do so, even though he was the next in line to work overtime in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement. Moreover, Johnson claimed Mangold had targeted him “for intimidation and verbal harassment, as though he is attempting to provoke me to respond to his hostile and threatening behavior and gestures.” As a result, Johnson claimed he had been “the victim of discrimination on the basis of my race African American.” On May 11, 2016, Johnson submitted a request to finish his May 12 shift one hour early so he could attend a dentist appointment. Mangold offered Johnson overtime on May 12, 2016, and Johnson believed that Mangold did so knowing that he could not accept the opportunity.

According to Johnson, Mangold belittled him in front of other employees for not doing enough work, and he was the only one reprimanded at that time. Mangold offered Johnson and Haskins overtime on May 19, 2016, but both declined the opportunity. Mangold became aware that Johnson had filed a grievance with the Union and on May 20, 2016, Mangold announced, during a morning meeting with the mowing crews, that someone had complained about not getting overtime but, otherwise, did nothing about the grievance. Mangold did not learn that Johnson had filed an EEOC charge until sometime after May 20, 2016. Johnson claims that Mangold’s hostile attitude toward him began

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on this day. The same day, Mangold called Johnson into his office and informed Johnson that he would be splitting up Johnson’s two-person work crew because they were “behind in their duties.” Johnson denied that his two-person crew was behind, but claims that another two-person crew “was the one that was behind.” On May 20, 2016, Mangold followed Johnson to two different locations where Johnson mowed, including C.K. Newsome and Akin. Mangold followed Johnson from Akin to a nearby Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant where Johnson and his mowing crew partner were going to eat lunch.

Summary judgment resolves a civil claim without a trial when the undisputed facts of the case would dictate the applicable law entitles one of the parties to a judgment in their favor. After lunch, while Johnson was working at Akin and sitting on a lawn mower, Johnson claimed he looked at Mangold and Mangold made the shape of a gun with his fingers and pointed it at Johnson. Johnson alleged Mangold had an “evil” look on his face. Johnson said he felt fear and “it has never ever left me, because I had seen him several times since I’ve been working, and I don’t know what day it is going to be that he is going to kill me.” Johnson did not report this incident to Parks Director Holtz or to human resources because he did not think he would be believed. On June 6, 2016, Johnson bid on a position in Meter Maintenance with the city’s Water Department, which would have resulted in a pay raise for him and would have involved 26 Parks & Recreation

working for a supervisor other than Mangold. The city awarded Johnson the job in June or July 2016, but Johnson turned it down because he did not want to be “pushed out” of the mowing crew. On July 28, 2016, Johnson had filed an Amended Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC, stating the discrimination took place starting in April 2016 and was “ongoing.” Mangold retired in March 2017, and Johnson had never been terminated, suspended or given a written warning by Mangold. (Once Johnson received an adverse administrative decision on his discrimination claim from the EEOC, having exhausted available administrative remedies as required by law, Johnson could then proceed to file a Title VII discrimination lawsuit for adjudication by a federal district court.)

Title VII Race Discrimination On July 24, 2017, Johnson filed a complaint against the city in federal district court, asserting claims of race discrimination and a hostile work environment in violation of Title VII. In response, the city denied allegations of racial discrimination and filed a motion for summary judgment to have the federal court effectively dismiss Johnson’s Title VII claims. Summary judgment resolves a civil claim without a trial when the undisputed facts of the case would dictate the applicable law entitles one of the parties to a judgment in their favor. In this instance, based on the pretrial record, the city claimed the facts provided no legal basis to support Johnson’s claims of race discrimination under Title VII. In support of its motion for summary judgment, the city argued that Johnson’s race discrimination claim failed because he did not suffer an

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adverse employment action. In response, Johnson argued that he had suffered an adverse employment action because the amount he would have made, had he been permitted to work overtime when Norman did, was $698.88, or “approximately 90 percent of his regular weekly pay.” In addition, the city also contended that Johnson could not identify a similarly situated individual, outside of his protected class based on race, who was treated more favorably than he was. In so doing, the city noted Norman was more senior than Johnson so was not similarly situated. Further, the city claimed Mangold’s questioning of Johnson regarding what work he had completed, reassigning him and observing him working do not raise a reasonable inference of discrimination. Finally, the city argued that there was no evidence showing that the parks department took an adverse employment action against Johnson based on his race, because overtime was assigned based on a longstanding departmental practice based on seniority. Johnson, however, contended overtime was not assigned by seniority, and the alleged practice of assigning overtime based on seniority was a mere pretext for discrimination.

Evidence of Racial Discrimination? In considering Johnson’s Title VII claim, the federal district court had to determine “whether the evidence would permit a reasonable factfinder [i.e., judge or jury] to conclude that Johnson’s race caused him to be treated unfairly.” As characterized by the federal district court, Johnson’s claim of racial discrimination was based on “his assertion that overtime was


not really assigned by seniority or that, if it was, that was a pretext for discrimination.” Based on the pretrial record, in particular testimony by Mangold, Holtz and Norman, the federal district court, however, cited facts indicating “overtime was assigned by seniority.” Although, Johnson testified that when he first started working at the Parks Department Mangold would ask everyone who wanted to work overtime, and people would raise their hands, this does not conflict with the notion that overtime was, actually, then assigned based on seniority. Further, in the opinion of the court, it was “irrelevant” that “the practice of assigning overtime based on seniority was not in writing and may have been in contravention of the CBA, and that there was not a list of employees by seniority.” Assuming “the overtime assignment policy should have been in writing and/or violated the CBA,” the court found “this — by itself — would not provide evidence of race discrimination.” On the contrary, what was relevant under Title VII was “whether the evidence permits an inference of race discrimination.” According to the court, “discrimination may be inferred when an employer treats an employee in a protected class less favorably than it treats a similarly situated employee outside that class.” In this instance, however, the federal district court found the pretrial record did not permit an inference of race discrimination: Johnson has not put forth evidence indicating that was the case. His comparator, Norman, was undisputedly senior to him, and perhaps was assigned overtime because he had more experience or had worked at certain sites more than

others. So, even if overtime was not assigned based on seniority per se, Norman had more experience than Johnson so it is not a viable comparator. Moreover, Johnson has not pointed to any employees who were

junior to him; yet, were assigned overtime instead of him.

Pretext for Discrimination?

Under Title VII, the federal district court acknowledged: “an inference of

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LAW REVIEW

discrimination may follow when the employer’s purported nondiscriminatory reason for taking an adverse action against the employee was pre-textual, meaning it was a lie or a phony reason.” To show pretext, however, the court would require Johnson to “identify such weaknesses, implausibilities, inconsistencies, or contradictions” in the city’s reasons for not assigning him overtime “that a reasonable person could find it unworthy of credence.”

The key issue is whether the conduct at issue qualifies as sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the work environment. In this instance, the court found Johnson had “not presented evidence showing that Mangold somehow made up the policy as a cover-up for discriminating against Johnson based on his race.” Moreover, the court found Johnson had “not presented any evidence indicating pretext, such as shifting or inconsistent explanations for how overtime was assigned.” Whether or not the policy of assigning overtime based on seniority, actually existed, Johnson has not set forth any evidence contradicting Mangold’s testimony that is how he assigned overtime. And in any event, even if the City assigned overtime based on some criteria other than seniority, Johnson has not presented evidence that that criteria was race. Johnson must do more than merely repeat that he believes he was treated differently from co-workers because of his race because personal beliefs are insufficient to give rise to a genuine factual dispute. And simply being a member of a protected class, without something more to link that sta28 Parks & Recreation

tus to the action in question is not sufficient. That ‘something more’ is just not present here. Johnson had also alleged race discrimination when Mangold offered him overtime on a day when Mangold knew Johnson would not be able to work overtime due to his scheduled dentist appointment. The court rejected Johnson’s claim. In the opinion of the court, “offering Johnson overtime on a day when Mangold knew (or should have known) that Johnson would not be able to work, while perhaps petty and mean, if done intentionally, also does not show that the action was taken due to his race.” Further, the court noted: “A supervisor observing a subordinate’s work does not constitute evidence of race discrimination under the circumstances presented here.” Having found Johnson had “not presented evidence showing that overtime opportunities were withheld from him due to his race,” the court granted the city’s motion for summary judgment on Johnson’s Title VII race discrimination claim.

Hostile Work Environment The federal district court also considered Johnson’s Title VII claim based on a “hostile work environment.” As cited by the court, an “actionable hostile work environment claim” under Title VII would require a plaintiff to prove the following: (1) that the work environment was both subjectively and objectively offensive; (2) that the harassment was based on membership in a protected class; (3) that the conduct was severe or pervasive; and (4) that there is a basis for employer liability. Further, the court noted: “Conduct cannot aid in creating an actionable hostile work environment

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unless it is related to the protected characteristic [in this case, race].” In determining “whether a work environment is hostile,” the federal district court would consider the following factors: the frequency of the discriminatory conduct; its severity; whether it is physically threatening or humiliating, or a mere offensive utterance; and whether it unreasonably interferes with an employee’s work performance. In making a hostile work environment determination, the court acknowledged: “The key issue is whether the conduct at issue qualifies as sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the work environment.” In his Title VII claim of racial discrimination, Johnson alleged Mangold had created a threatening hostile work environment when “Mangold pointed at Johnson with his hands shaped like a gun, observed his work while Johnson was at two different sites on May 20, 2016.” In so doing, Johnson argued “a reasonable person could find that Mangold’s prolonged observation of Johnson, combined with Mangold’s threatening ‘gun gesture’ are sufficient to create an objectively hostile work environment.” In response, the city argued: “observing Johnson’s work was just part of Mangold’s job in supervising him, and that Mangold pointing at Johnson with his fingers shaped like a gun does not support an inference that the gesture was related to his race.” Moreover, the city noted: “Johnson never reported any incidents, and that he had the chance to work for a different department where Mangold would not have been his supervisor, but he turned down the opportunity.” Further, assuming “Mangold yelled at Johnson in front of others or informed him that he and his crew


member were falling behind,” the city contended “those actions are not subjectively or objectively offensive” and “were neither severe nor pervasive.” According to the federal district court, “a very limited number of incidents can support a hostile work environment claim, but there still must be a link to a racial motivation.” In this particular instance, however, the court found “evidence of a racial character or purpose is lacking.” Specifically, the court found “Mangold pointing at Johnson on a single occasion with his fingers shaped like a gun” would “not support a hostile work environment claim.” Title VII is not a general civility code, and while such a gesture may have been rude and even intimidating, it does not create liability for a hostile work environment. While racially charged conduct by a supervisor is treated as much more serious than a co-worker’s conduct, there is no evidence that the gun gesture was motivated by Johnson’s race. The gesture must have had ‘a racial character or purpose’ in order to create a hostile work environment. As a result, the federal district court concluded: “a reasonable jury could not conclude that Mangold observing Johnson’s work and pointing at him with his fingers in the shape of a gun on May 20 was severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile work environment.” The federal district court, therefore, granted the city’s motion for summary judgment on Johnson’s Title VII race discrimination and hostile work environment claims. James C. Kozlowski, J.D., Ph.D., is an Attorney and Associate Professor in the School of Recreation, Health and Tourism at George Mason University (jkozlows@ gmu.edu). Webpage with link to law review articles archive (1982 to present): http://mason.gmu.edu/~jkozlows.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF HOUSTON PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT

H E A LT H & W E L L N E S S

Connecting Communities Through Outdoor Play Enhances Eight Local Parks By Maureen Acquino

T

he Connecting Communities Through Outdoor Play grant opportunity, made possible by the Target Corporation, provided eight communities with the chance to enhance local park and recreation sites to encourage community members of all ages to come together to play, socialize, participate in physical activity and connect with nature. Funds are used to transform local parks to improve access to physical activity, social connection and create more resilient communities for low-income youth and families. Over the course of three years, 24 total park improvement projects will be completed that emphasize the strategic focus areas of connecting all individuals to nature and healthy living opportunities, aligning with Target’s priorities and NRPA’s pillars of health and wellness, conservation and social equity. During year one, funds were used

30 Parks & Recreation

to support innovative park improvement projects in eight underserved communities across the country. Those projects prioritized inclusive improvements, creating spaces that all community members, regardless of ability or background, can participate in and easily access. They also included improved infrastructure, such as walking/biking trails, increased connection to the outdoors through nature-play areas, improved access to sports and creative solutions to meet community members where they are through mobile play units.

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Projects Overview At Capitol Park in San Jose, California, grant funds were used to install outdoor, handicap-accessible exercise equipment to engage seniors in the community, as well as those of all abilities. The impact of this space was huge, as having access to free fitness equipment greatly increases their access to physical activity opportunities, improving health outcomes. The neighborhood surrounding Isabel Gates Website Park in Atlanta, Georgia, is age-diverse, with a large senior housing complex and single-family residences with younger families. The opportunity to provide amenities at the playground for both the younger age groups to engage in outdoor play


Park staff and patrons cut the ribbon to open the interactive outdoor park amenities (tether ball, bocce ball, corn hole, etc.) at University Park in Phoenix, Arizona.

while still providing multigenerational components at the park was key to the project’s success. In Tampa, Florida, the enhanced space was an old basketball court that was under-utilized by the community. To increase park engagement and provide a safe space for kids in the afterschool program, the agency installed new pickleball courts, which are colorful and cater to the renewed interest of community members in outdoor play. The Houston, Texas, Parks and Recreation Department’s Natural Resources Management Program has an ongoing 47-acre, coastal prairie restoration project at Blackhawk Park. The Connecting Communities Through Outdoor Play project restored historic prairie conditions to the site to help mitigate flooding, increase the biodiversity of plants and wildlife at the site, and create a new nature-play space. Trenton and Auburn Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is one of the few outdoor play spaces in the neighborhood. A new, low-income housing project has just opened adjacent to the park, and there are many families that need an outdoor play opportunity. The newly installed nature-play features give the new and longtime residents a way to connect and build community. The Lawn Games concept in Phoenix, Arizona, began with identifying open space at University Park that was underutilized and had some landscape design challenges. Park staff and patrons worked together to identify interactive outdoor park amenities that people of all ages could participate in, including tether ball, bocce ball, 4-square and corn hole. The Kilbourn Park Explorers

Garden in Chicago, Illinois, represents the realization of a goal longheld by both park staff and patrons. The Explorers Garden provides Kilbourn Park with several new amenities, including a native habitat for pollinators, a human-scale sundial and a shaded seating area. Other elements that have improved the space include a water pump and mud kitchen for play, new fencing, mulch trails with edging and re-establishing native planting beds. The city of Baltimore, Maryland, is working in conjunction with NRPA’s Parks Build Community initiative on this year’s project, which will be unveiled during the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference in September. Improvements to Catherine Street Park will make it an attractive meeting place for community members to come together and connect through outdoor play.

Impacts Across the grantee cities, 46,300 community members have benefited from these projects. With the enhancements the park and recreation agencies were able to install with this grant, these residents have a safe, welcoming place in which to spend

time in their neighborhoods. Of the 46,000 people reached, 77 percent were from minority communities and more than 7,500 individuals with a disability were impacted. In total, more than 35,800 square feet of parkland were improved through this opportunity. As projects underwent construction and implementation, grantees were able to harness the power of volunteers, and attribute 887 volunteer hours to the success of these park enhancement projects. An added benefit of this grant opportunity was the forming and strengthening of community relationships. Grantees formed relationships with nationwide groups, as well as with local groups, like city council, friends-of groups and local sports organizations. Through community engagement and these strong relationships, grantee agencies were able to identify the needs of and develop projects that uniquely serve their communities. The selection of 2019 projects is underway, and their construction will begin in the fall of 2019. Maureen Acquino is an NRPA Program Manager (macquino@nrpa.org).

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The Results Are in from the Parks for Pollinators Inaugural Bioblitz!

Volunteers ask Natural Resources Coordinator Brittany McAdams questions about native plant species during the bioblitz.

By Michele White, CAE, IOM

D

uring the month of June, in conjunction with our Parks for Pollinators campaign, NRPA hosted its first-ever national bioblitz, with support from Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation. Parks for Pollinators focuses on raising public awareness of the current pollinator crisis, encouraging local action, and positioning parks as a national leader in advancing pollinator health. To that end, park agencies and conservation-minded organizations across the country engaged their communities in this month-long, citizen science experience to educate them about the pollinators in their local area and the pollinators’ importance. More than 180 individuals pledged to help pollinators and downloaded information on how to host a bioblitz. Events were organized from coast to coast, with a total of 21 states being represented and 43 agencies participating. These groups recorded more than 5,000 observations of pollinators

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and supporting plants and documented more than 1,500 different species. Some 580 people participated to record these findings and 552 experts help identify them on the iNaturalist app. Nationally, the most commonly found plant species were lemon beebalm, indian blanket and Amer-

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ican basketflower and, for pollinators, monarch and eastern tiger swallowtail butterflies and western honey bees. Check out the results at www.inaturalist.org/projects/ parks-for-pollinators, especially to see what pollinators were found near you! NRPA tagged along with staff from the City of Columbus Recreation and Parks Department and representatives from Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and other partners to host a bioblitz at Franklin Park Conservatory’s Pollinator Palooza event on June 22. The park staff led the charge to educate attendees about their local pollinators and help them partici-

PHOTOS COURTESY OF CARMEL CLAY PARKS & RECREATION

CONSERVATION


pate in their bioblitz. The Palooza featured pollinator experts, demonstration tables and many engaging family-friendly activities, which were broadcast on Facebook Live (https://tinyurl.com/y6rxw8hv) from NRPA. The learning doesn’t stop with the bioblitz since the information on iNaturalist has a life after the event! That data feeds into the larger research world to help with biodiversity projects. Many agencies are taking what they learned from their bioblitz to inform how they manage their open spaces, as well as to find better ways to engage their community on environmental issues, like the pollinator crisis. Park agencies can also create their own biodiversity indexes for their spaces from the data. Even if you haven’t hosted an event, you can create a guide from the data already on the site (if your area already has data). Simply go to the site, www. inaturalist.org/guides, and create your own guide and find what’s in your parks.

Some Feedback from Texas A shout-out to our Texas agencies: Five agencies from the Lone Star State signed up to host a bioblitz and three of them were atop the leader board with observations. We caught up with a few of them to talk about their experiences. Dallas Park and Recreation Department ran its bioblitz for the entire month of June, but right before its main event a major windstorm swept across the city. One area alone lost 255 large trees and the surrounding neighborhood was severely affected. Many of the big trees it lost had significant hollows, which are structurally bad for the trees but won

A volunteer holds a monarch butterfly that was found during the bioblitz.

derful for wildlife. From hosting a bioblitz prior to its Parks for Pollinators event, the park agency now has pre- and post-storm data. Brett Johnson, the agency’s senior environmental coordinator and urban biologist, will use this comparison data with future bioblitz information so that his department can understand the changes in species from habitat changes in that specific area. Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge held a bioblitz with a pollinator-focused education day, while also dedicating a new pollinator sign! It hosted a bee program, native plant giveaway, a roving naturalist and a morning pollinator hike. Throughout the day, families, community leaders, council members and members of the local Natural Guard (conservation volunteers) were engaged around the importance of pollinators, including the Parks for Pollinators bioblitz! Georgetown Parks and Recreation had some well-versed blitzers in attendance for its event, as well as some people who did not fully understand what a pollinator was. Because of the diversity of knowledge levels, it was able to divide attendees into smaller groups and allow participants to share their own knowledge with each other (with staff assistance). Through events like this, it hopes to develop a greater understanding of its park’s biodiversity, which will help it address questions about species in the park and help update the master species list.

“It was wonderful to see so many new visitors to the park helping to chronicle some of our species’ diversity,” says Rowan Prothro, recreation specialist for Garey Park, Georgetown Parks and Recreation. “Kids and adults alike were connecting with Garey in a way that they had not before. Watching parents bring their kids out to learn about pollinators was awesome — very inspiring to see a new generation of nature lovers!” NRPA is collecting stories, images and feedback from all who signed up for this year’s inaugural bioblitz. Send us your stories. We would love to share them, and we hope even more of you will join us next June for round two of the Parks for Pollinators bioblitz! Michele White, CAE, IOM, is an NRPA Program Manager, Conservation (mwhite@nrpa.org).

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SOCIAL EQUITY

Parks Build Community 2019 The importance of providing space to play

Children enjoying the new playground equipment at Trojan Park, the 2016 Parks Build Community project in St. Louis, Missouri.

By Suzanne Nathan

Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity. — Kay Redfield Jamison, an American clinical psychologist and writer

The 2019 Parks Build Community (PBC) renovation of Catherine Street Park in Baltimore, Maryland, is well underway to becoming a new space for children, and adults, to play. Whether it is new playground equipment and splash pad, or basketball court and outdoor fitness equipment, there will be opportunities for residents of all ages to play outside. Research shows that playing outside is important for the overall health and development of children. In a May 2019 blog (https:// 34 Parks & Recreation

tinyurl.com/yybt93sx), Claire Mc-

Carthy, faculty editor of Harvard Health Publishing, outlined the following six crucial ways playing outside helps children: Sunshine. We need sun exposure to make vitamin D, a vitamin that plays a crucial role in many body processes, from bone development to our immune system. Sun exposure also plays a role in our immune system in other ways, as well as in healthy sleep — and in our mood. Our bodies work best when they get some sunshine every day.

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Exercise. Children should be active for an hour every day and getting outside to play is one way to be sure that happens. They can certainly exercise indoors but sending them outdoors — especially with something like a ball or a bike — encourages active play, which is really the best exercise for children. Executive function. These are the skills that help us plan, prioritize, troubleshoot, negotiate and multitask (https://developing c h i l d . h a r va r d . e d u / s c i e n c e / key-concepts/executive-function); they are crucial for our success. Creativity falls in here, too, and using our imagination to problem-solve and entertain ourselves. These are skills that must be learned

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This slide, part of the new playround equipment at Shady Lane Park — the 2013 Parks Build Community project in Houston, Texas — was a big hit.

and practiced — and to do this, children need unstructured time. They need time alone and with other children, and to be allowed (perhaps forced) to make up their own games, figure things out, and amuse themselves. Being outside gives them opportunities to practice these important life skills. Taking risks. Children need to take some risks. As parents, this makes us anxious; we want our children to be safe (https://tinyurl. com/y2wwe6el). But if we keep them in bubbles and never let them take any risks, they won’t know what they can do — and they may not have the confidence and bravery to face life’s inevitable risks. Yes, you can break an arm from climbing a tree — and yes, you can be humiliated when you try to make a friend and get rejected. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try; the lessons we learn from failure are just as important as those we learn from success. Socialization. Children need to learn how to work together. They need to learn to make friends, how to share and cooperate, how to treat other people. If they only

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interact in very structured settings, such as school or sports teams, they won’t — they can’t — learn everything they need to know. Appreciation of nature. So much of our world is changing, and not for the better. If a child grows up never walking in the woods, digging in soil, seeing animals in their habitat, climbing a mountain, playing in a stream, or staring at the endless horizon of an ocean, they may never really understand what there is to be lost. The future of our planet depends on our children; they need to learn to appreciate it.”

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Lifelong Benefits PBC sponsors agree. “As a company deeply invested in providing evidence-based research, we know that outdoor play is the cornerstone for children’s health, wellbeing and overall development,” says Anne-Marie Spencer, PlayCore’s corporate vice president of marketing. “Well-designed play and recreation areas help children and families enjoy the benefits of the outdoors and create a lifelong affinity for active lifestyles.”

Resources for Creating Safe, Equitable Outdoor Spaces Spending time outside is key, but having equitable access to a fun, safe outdoor play space is just as important. To assist members in creating spaces that are welcoming to all, NRPA created two resource guides to share best practices: • The Parks for Inclusion Policy Guide (www.nrpa. org/our-work/partnerships/initiatives/parks-forinclusion/policy-guide) – A set of resources designed to guide agencies in creating and implementing inclusive policies. • The Community Engagement Resource Guide (www.nrpa.org/publications-research/bestpractice-resources/community-engage ment-resource-guide) – Provides park and rec professionals with a road map to implement equitable and inclusive community engagement strategies around the planning, design, construction, maintenance and activation of park projects and park plans.

Donors and organizations involved in the 2019 PBC project include:

• Active Network www.activenetwork.com

• GameTime www.gametime.com

• Parks & Recreation magazine www.parksandrecreation.org

• BCI Burke Playgrounds www.bciburke.com

• Gared www.garedsports.com

• Physical Activity Research Center (PARC) www.paresearchcenter.org

• California Sports Surfaces www.californiasportssurfaces.com

• Greenfields Outdoor Fitness www.gfoutdoorfitness.com

• Pilot Rock www.pilotrock.com

• Dero www.dero.com

• Johns Hopkins University www.jhu.edu

• PlayCore www.playcore.com

• DuMor www.dumor.com

• NC State University www.ncsu.edu

• Playworld www.playworld.com

• Epic Outdoor Cinema www.epicoutdoorcinema.com

• OpenSpace Radio www.nrpa.org/blog/Podcasts

• Vortex www.vortex-intl.com

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SOCIAL EQUITY

Community leader, Derwin Hannah, welcoms residents to movie night at Catherine Street Park.

PBC Movie Night at Catherine Street Park On Wednesday, June 26, 2019, NRPA and Baltimore City Recreation & Parks (BCRP) hosted a movie night at Catherine Street Park. Special thanks to Epic Outdoor Cinema (www.epicoutdoorcinema.com), which donated the screen for the PBC project! The festivities began long before the sun went down. BCRP brought footballs and frisbees, as well as corn hole and a wood tower stacking lawn game. Close to 60 people came out on a hot, humid evening, and the children played excitedly as they waited for sunset when the movie began and popcorn was served. The excitement continues to build as residents keep watch on the renovation and look forward to more movie nights at Catherine Street Park.

Rather than play outside, many of today’s children may prefer to spend time indoors on electronic devices. In moderation, sedentary activities are not inherently harmful, but research shows more and more people, especially children, are spending too much free time on devices. In a recent article for Sanford Health (https://news. sanfordhealth.org/childrens/ play-outside), writer Danae Lund Ph.D., LP states: “On average, American children spend four to seven minutes a day in unstructured outdoor play, compared to 36 Parks & Recreation

seven or more hours in front of a screen. Outdoor play should not become a thing of the past.” The health and wellness benefits of spending time outside are not limited to youth. The authors of an April 2018 article, titled “Developing a Park Prescription Program for Your Community,” (https:// tinyurl.com/y5yz2e5c) in Parks & Recreation magazine, state: “Park Prescription or ‘Park Rx’ programs are gaining in popularity and helping to motivate people to be active in our parks. These programs encourage physicians to ‘prescribe’ physical activity in park settings to their patients. By creating awareness of nearby parks and their health benefits, they can also help increase participation in programs in, as well as stewardship of, parks.” Generations have long known that spending time outdoors is “good for you,” but no one had quantified just how much time was necessary for adults to gain health benefits. That was until a largescale study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research and published in the June 2018 issue of Scientific Reports (www.nature.com/ articles/s41598-019-44097-3), quantified just how much time spent in nature promotes health and well-being: at least two hours per week.

Bringing Play into Communities PBC, a national initiative, demonstrates the transformative value of parks on the health and vitality of communities across America. The vision to build and revitalize parks as thriving gathering places for youth, families and adults is one shared by

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NRPA, its industry and nonprofit partners and the thousands of park and recreation professionals who develop and maintain these treasured public places. Donors are excited to participate in the 2019 PBC project: “Outdoor play spaces provide places for families and communities to gather, move, get much-needed Vitamin D and take advantage of more space to play! Providing this type of environment through Parks Build Community gives us the opportunity to bring play and development into a community and create a place for everyone to thrive,” says Brian Johnson, chief marketing officer for BCI Burke. “As an advocate for rebuilding communities and rejuvenating play for people of all ages, our ongoing mission is to provide sports equipment solutions to renovate green spaces and facilities, such as Catherine Street Park in Baltimore,” says Andrew Peterson, recreation and field sports manager at GARED. “GARED is pleased to partner with the NRPA on this project, which shares our passion for play and the importance of sports and recreation in communities across the country.” NRPA and the PBC donors look forward to the grand reopening of Catherine Street Park this September, during the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference. To learn more about PBC projects or to become a donor, please contact Gina Mullins-Cohen, NRPA’s vice president of marketing, communications and publishing at gcohen@nrpa.com. Suzanne Nathan is NRPA’s Media Specialist (snathan@nrpa.org).


THANK YOU TO THE DONORS OF THE NRPA 2019 PARKS BUILD COMMUNITY PROJECT

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE NATIONAL RECREATION AND PARK ASSOCIATION


A PARK AND REC KID COMES FULL CIRCLE Getting to know NRPA’s new president and CEO Kristine Stratton By Sonia Myrick

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ristine Stratton, NRPA’s new president and CEO, is from Maine, the northeastern most state and a place that boasts 3,500 miles of coastline (more than California), 6,000 lakes and ponds, and 17 million acres of forest. With its breathtaking vistas and myriad opportunities to engage with the outdoors, it’s no wonder that her idea of a perfect day is one spent on the water or in a park with her nearest and dearest family and friends, capped off with

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PHOTO BY AARON CLAMAGE

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to that, the executive director of Waterkeeper Alliance in New York, New York — reveals her passion and dedication to environmental, health and justice issues. Parks & Recreation magazine recently spoke with Stratton, who’s been at the NRPA helm since June 5, to learn how her past experiences have informed her career path, what constitutes her leadership style and why she so readily identifies as a park and rec kid.

Feeding a baby goat during one of many annual trips to the Bangor State Fair, an agricultural and recreational fair that’s been running since 1849.

some good food and a piece of blueberry (the state berry) pie. A quick scan of her career path and the organizations she’s chosen to devote her time and energy to — Stratton is a board member of 1% for the Planet and the Environmental Health Strategy Center and was formerly the senior vice president of operations at Earthjustice in San Francisco, California, and, prior

Parks & Recreation: What aspects of your past work experience, particularly from your time at Earthjustice, do you see informing your role here at NRPA? Kristine Stratton: When I looked at NRPA as an organization, what stood out for me is the fact that we are a member and community-driven organization that is focused on supporting communities across the country. The idea of amplifying the importance of parks and advancing the conservation, health and wellness and social equity pillars of NRPA was and is very compelling to me. My

career is almost entirely nonprofit management and leadership, and in organizations that are very much rooted in community and in service. For example, I spent 11 years in a public broadcasting organization that was a community licensee, and that was, every day, looking at how it could serve the community better — how it could be innovative, how it could be impactful. And, my role in that organization was to make sense of that — was to innovate and find better ways of executing on our mission and serving the community. When I look at Waterkeeper Alliance, I liken it to NRPA in that we served our member organizations, amplified their voices on key advocacy issues and worked to grow the movement. So, a key feature of my work experience is serving nonprofit organizations that are community and member-driven, so that is directly aligned with who NRPA is. Another key feature of my work background is this blend of the broad educational programs of public broadcasting with the environment and public health programs, reflected in my master’s degree and environmental experience. From the Conservation Law Foundation to Waterkeeper Alliance to Earthjustice, all three of those organizations are environmental groups. However, the lens they look through to serve the populations they support is both a health and environment one. From a practical standpoint, I’ve acted in strategic and oper-

Stratton engaging in one of her favorite activities — being on the water — in her favorite park — Baxter State Park (BSP), Maine. 40 Parks & Recreation

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ational roles for my profession. What really drives me, and what I’m excited about applying to NRPA, is the ability to both set a vision and to be strategic, and to couple that with a practical ‘how do we translate this into action? How do we translate this into how we operate as an organization?’ That’s something that I’m excited about, too. P&R: In looking into your background, I noticed that a lot of your work has been in environment and justice in the health and wellness area. What brought you to these passions? How did you figure out that this was where your passion lies? Stratton: That’s such an interesting question. I’ve thought a lot about that, and it goes back to my childhood. I grew up in a small paper mill town in central-northern Maine. My mom worked in the mill, my dad worked for the local water company and also was a mechanic. I grew up in a household that was very rooted in a strong work ethic and very rooted in the idea that the work doesn’t stop just because you’re punching a clock 9 to 5. My mom was on the school board, volunteered, was involved in the Girl Scouts, and my dad worked constantly. I was trained to be work-identified and to be of service to others. That was a message I got from my parents very early on. What drove my passion for the environment and public health is growing up in that mill town. Our house was maybe 500 feet from the mill gate and was across the street from a stream. But, we could not swim in that stream and were actually afraid to retrieve balls that accidentally fell in because there was so much effluent

discharge from that mill that you could not use the water. The fish were not safe to catch, and it was not safe to paddle in it. So, it was this beautiful resource that was untouchable, really. Not only that, but because of a lack of proper air pollution controls, every morning we’d have soot on our cars — just a layer of it. And yet, I would leave that town and go to my local state park, which is this gorgeous place called Baxter State Park — 210,000 acres of pristine wilderness — and escape into this beautiful, soul-filling natural environment. It was not lost on me this disconnect between this wonderful natural resource and the fact that both of my parents were asthmatics, and Maine has a disproportionately high rate of asthma. I felt very early on that there’s this false choice between economic viability and health. My parents, my family and my community did not have to suffer in order to support and operate that mill, which has since closed. They

Wherever she goes, Stratton loves to explore parks. Here, she embraces the winds at California’s Sugarloaf Ridge State Park.

didn’t have to sacrifice their health in order to make a living is my point. So, that idea of who’s burdened and who’s benefiting from the structures we’ve created was an idea that surfaced for me early on. Then, going to school and, ultimately, going back to school for my master’s program and delving deeply into the environmental justice movement, historically disproportionate burdens on low-income and communities of color, and how dramatically the systems that we’ve created either support those historically inequitable systems or confront them, has driven certainly my focus and my personal passion for the past 15 to 20 years. P&R: You’ve commented that this is your dream job. In what way? Stratton: Well, at the heart of it,

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KRISTINE STRATTON

Backpacking through a bog on the way to Russell Pond, BSP, Maine.

When I think about my favorite recreation activity, it’s really walking and exploring parks. I’m a park and rec kid! I identify as a park and rec kid, and I’m still a park and rec kid today. I remember I started taking swimming lessons at the municipal pool. This is central-northern Maine, so it is cold, cold, cold, cold water. I will never forget sort of bracing and sticking a toe in the water and edging in. But parks have made a huge, positive difference in my life. They’ve made a huge positive difference in the life of my family. From the elder members of my family to the kids in my fam42 Parks & Recreation

ily, and I think about going to the local rec center in Brooklyn with my cousin and watching my little 7-year-old cousin take swimming lessons in the rec center. And, just what a point of pride it was for her to learn the strokes and get more confident over time. That, to me, is a testament to what park and rec programs can do for us as individuals, but also us as a community. I talked earlier about how important it is for me to be of service, how important it is for me to be able to sink my teeth into hard work, and I look at this as a dream job because there’s so much opportunity for us to serve our membership, to expand our membership, to serve the communities across the country who care about parks. It’s a dream job for me because I’m helping to contribute to this virtuous cycle of making great programs, then seeing the benefit of those great programs to a kid like me, right? So, that’s why it’s a dream job. P&R: How would you describe your leadership style? Stratton: Well, for starters, I would say I’m highly motivated to set ambitious but achievable goals and supporting the team I’m working with in order to achieve them. It’s important to me to always be striving for continuous improvement. I love to ask questions. I love to support and reinforce the opportunity for our team members to push themselves to be creative…to strive for more. That’s a hallmark of my leadership style. I will also say that over the past couple of years, I’ve deepened a practice in mindful leadership,

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which really helps me stay grounded and helps me set a tone that is patient and supportive, clear and focused on what’s most important. I hold myself to a high standard. I always have a full plate and I’m trying to do a lot, and I’m also trying to do everything in a very thoughtful, patient, focused way, which, I think, is a benefit of practicing mindful leadership. For me, mindful leadership is also rooted in doing a lot of listening. I just finished my first six weeks here, and I will say I’ve been doing lots and lots of listening and that’s something that will never stop for me. I want to continue to practice that. I want to continue learning and being aware and responding to what our organization needs, both internally and externally. I also would say mindful leadership, to put a plug in for that, emphasizes how important culture and culture building is to the health of an organization. So, that’s something that I want to model and that I want the leadership team at NRPA to be modeling, as well. P&R: Who has been your biggest mentor or idol and why? Stratton: An idol that I have is Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and mindfulness leader who is about as beautiful a soul and model as you can possibly imagine. He’s taught a lot and written a lot on meditation and meditation practices. One of the teachings he emphasizes is compassion for self and for others. I have a lot of heroes. I’ve been extremely blessed to have mentors my whole life, and that’s one thing that I really deeply believe in, mentorship, and what I always tell younger professionals and kids that I have the honor to


spend time with…that it’s OK to ask for help. It’s important to ask for help. Someone told me that early on in my career, that it’s OK to ask someone to be your mentor, to be that explicit. And I did it and they said ‘Yes,’ and that’s such a compliment. It is such a compliment to be asked to mentor someone…to be asked to provide guidance. That’s something I take really seriously. I couldn’t name for you all the people who have served as mentors in my life. I am standing on the shoulders of so many people. I’m so incredibly grateful for that. P&R: We touched on this a bit, but what’s one of the most memorable moments from your childhood in relation to parks and/or recreation? Stratton: Yeah, the pool example 100 percent…and both the fear of the cold and just the fear of learning that skill. Also, what I remember distinctly is how wonderful and supportive and encouraging the instructors were. They helped me get over that fear and to trust in my ability to learn how to swim. That’s what I keep coming back to when I think about parks and recreation. The fact is that [the pool] is just a pool without that person standing there and helping that kid muster up the courage to take that step. P&R: Tell us about your favorite park and your favorite recreational activity. Would that be Baxter State Park? Stratton: I have to go with Baxter because I grew up in that park. I mentioned it’s 210,000 acres...I may be off a little bit with that measurement, but I have not even explored all parts of it. I’m still exploring and learning that park.

P&R: What’s your favorite thing to do in the park? Stratton: Baxter’s in my soul, no question about it, but every single city I’ve lived in, every city and town I’ve visited, parks are always part of that experience. I notice those communities that have invested in making green space, in making open space and public programs, it just completes that city or that town. It makes it so much richer and so much more accessible and inviting. When I think about my favorite recreation activity, it’s really walking and exploring parks. And, if I’m in a more rural or rustic setting, it’s hiking and camping. If it’s a more urban setting, it’s wandering about and exploring, seeing the plants, people watching and just getting a flavor for the local community and place — getting a sense of place.

sion, the reach and impact of our parks movement. So, how to keep the membership…the voice of the members in that vision is key. I’m flying today to join the summer meeting of CSED, which is the Council of State Executive Directors. That is a critical organization and those are critical individuals in terms of having a pulse on park professionals around the country. That, to me, is a vital relationship I want to cultivate, foster and support. That’s one source of making sure that the voice of the membership is ever-present. The others, of course, are our board. It is populated by both professionals and advocates, so voices of the membership are serving on our board, which is also important. And, we have an array of work that we do to make sure we’re stay-

P&R: What will be your areas of focus for the organization…your vision, and how will you work to bring the voice of the members into that vision? Stratton: I mentioned that I just finished my first six weeks, I’ve spent that time in heavy listening mode. When I was interviewing, when I was hired, the board was clear that, first and foremost, it wanted to build on the strength and success of NRPA to date. Board members want to continue to strengthen programs across our three pillars. They want to make sure we are strengthening and broadening our partnerships. They want, certainly, to grow the voice of NRPA and the visibility of NRPA and, by exten-

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Stratton at NRPA headquarters in Ashburn, Virginia.

ing connected with, responding to and supporting our membership, including surveys and our annual conference. I mean, the annual conference alone, what an amazing opportunity to get a read on the pulse of the membership and what their concerns are right now. Another terrific resource we have is NRPA Connect. I log in to that forum every single day and survey the conversations that are happening in the membership. There’s a lot of work to do, and I can’t imagine doing any of it without staying connected and making sure the voice of the membership is a deep and broad part of that. P&R: Do you think it’s important for NRPA to take a stand on climate change from a public policy perspective? Stratton: I do. Period. End of sen44 Parks & Recreation

tence. I do, absolutely! To elaborate, parks are among the most important infrastructure in communities and from a climate resiliency perspective, they are essential — parks are essential. From a structural perspective, things like green space, green stormwater infrastructure, supporting biodiversity and so on are essential. From a programming perspective, emergency preparedness, educational programs in the community — the services that parks and rec provide — all that feeds into a holistic effort to support climate resiliency. For us, from a policy perspective, it is essential that we are securing funding and support from our legislators. They must support all that work, from both an infrastructure and program perspective, in parks around the country. And, just as important, is making sure that park professionals have a seat at the table when plans are developed and decisions are being made around climate resiliency. That’s essential. I see a critical role for NRPA to play on both fronts to ensure that the role of parks in climate resiliency is recognized and that there’s support and funding that’s so desperately needed across the country around programs and infrastructure. P&R: Six years ago, NRPA adopted its three pillars — Health and Wellness, Conservation Social Equity. What are your thoughts on those areas of focus? Stratton: I think they’re wonderful centering tools for our work. I look at them as guiding principles, and I think the challenge for us is to translate them into our programs across the board and to always be asking ourselves: ‘Are we doing all we can to advance each of the three pillars?’

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I think there’s a tendency in organizations to compartmentalize. I love the concept of the three pillars as both a lens that each of us who work here can look at our work through and as a tool to make sure we are all aligned with each of those three. P&R: What does social equity mean to you? Stratton: Social equity, to me, means that we are working to ensure everyone has access to a great park. To use our tagline, everyone deserves a great park. We know that historical structural and institutional racism created a current reality where benefits and burdens are not evenly shared and infrastructure and services, including park and rec programs, that aren’t universally great. Our job at NRPA is to work to change that and to realize that tagline, where not only does everyone deserve a great park, but everyone has a great park. I mentioned before when talking about the three pillars, we need to apply that equity lens to all that we do. Both inside — how we are operating — and outside — how we launch and manage programs. For me, equity is an essential motivator. Advancing an equitable reality, especially in the context of services to a community like parks and rec, is essential to the work we are doing. P&R: Is there anything else that you want NRPA members to know about you? Stratton: I’m excited to be here and hope to see you in Baltimore! Sonia Myrick is the Executive Editor for Parks & Recreation magazine (smyrick@ nrpa.org).


Live Stream Top Sessions from the NRPA Annual Conference

This year we are live streaming nine full education sessions and five speed sessions from the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference in Baltimore. Interact with speakers, access conference-related content and earn up to 1.8 CEUs from the comfort of your own home or office.

nrpa.org/NRPALive


The

RURAL Connection Two rural park agencies take 10-Minute Walk to the next level By Vitisia Paynich

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n January 2019, NRPA unveiled the most recent group of cities to be awarded grant funding for the 10-Minute Walk. Launched in 2017, 10-Minute Walk is a campaign that’s focused on creating a world where, by 2050, everyone in U.S. cities — large and small — has safe access to a quality park or green space within a 10-minute walk of home. The first group of recipients were announced in spring 2018. Thanks to a partnership between NRPA, The Trust for Public Land and the Urban Land Institute, this much-needed funding enables cities to develop innovative and equity-driven systems change methods to provide their citizens with more access to high-quality, close-to-home parks and public green space. Among the 22 recipients for 2019 are the city of Bennettsville, South Carolina, and the city of Winooski, Vermont — both rural park agencies representing populations of less than 9,000.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CITY OF WINOOSKI

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RURAL CONNECTION

Parks & Recreation magazine spoke with these park agencies to learn about their communities, how the 10-Minute Walk is influencing their park and rec objectives, how social equity plays a key role and how these opportunities will help engage community members and stakeholders.

Bennettsville, South Carolina With a population of 8,572, only 48 percent of the city of Bennettsville’s parks are accessible within a 10-minute walk. In May 2018, the Bennettsville Tourism, Parks, and Recreation Department officially opened its doors.

PHOTO COURTESY OF BENNETTSVILLE DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM, PARKS, & RECREATION

Rural Areas by the Numbers What constitutes a rural area? According to the U.S. Census Bureau: Rural is defined as all population, housing, and territory not included within an urbanized area or urban cluster. As a result, the rural portion of the United States encompasses a wide variety of settlements, from densely settled small towns and “large-lot” housing sub-divisions on the fringes of urban areas, to more sparsely populated and remote areas. The United States Department of Agriculture data reveal that the total population in rural U.S. counties (populations less than 50,000) is 46.1 million, which is 14 percent of the U.S. population. NRPA’s Park and Recreation Agency Count, completed in January 2019, identifies the approxi-

mately 10,000 cities, towns, counties and special districts nationwide providing parks and/or recreation activities or facilities through their local government. When broken down regionally by all jurisdictions with a population of less than 20,000 residents, the percent of governments with these services are as follows: Northeast (24.2 percent), South (33.1 percent), Midwest (26.4 percent) and West (16.3 percent). In a September 2015 study, titled Promoting Active Living in Rural Communities, authors Anush Yousefian Hansen, M.S., and David Hartley, Ph.D., state that “enhancing features of the rural environment, such as playgrounds, parks and recreational facilities and diminishing barriers…are both key in addressing active living and obesity in rural communities.”

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“There had always been a park and recreation department, but it really didn’t have the structure that it currently has or any staff that was committing, in a full-fledged effort, to improve the quality of life of the citizens of our city of Bennettsville,” admits Elisabeth McNiel, director of Tourism, Parks, and Recreation. Prior to her agency appointment, McNiel says she — and Bennettsville’s facilities, events & projects manager, Brittany Jones — didn’t have backgrounds in parks and recreation. Realizing this big learning curve, the two women sought assistance from other sources in the park and rec field. “Our department has been restructured, so we’re Tourism, Parks, and Recreation, and just through reaching out to South Carolina Parks and Recreation and the National Recreation and Park Association and making sure that we had our credentials and our membership, we were in the know about what we didn’t know coming into these positions,” says Jones. What McNiel and Jones soon discovered was the inaccessibility of the parks within their rural community. “We oversee eight parks that are strategically located throughout our city,” says McNiel. “I’m not saying we have enough parks to serve our entire population, but they are strategically located, and we are constantly trying to improve, enhance and make them better assets in our community.” Overcoming Rural Challenges Jones says one of the key differences between a rural park agency versus an urban park agency is access

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to public transportation. “That’s an issue of trying to get people who are scattered further away to be able to utilize resources that we have,” she explains. “Park connectivity is a big issue and goal for us, especially when it comes to the 10-Minute Walk.” That plan includes finding ways to create more walking and biking trails and ensuring kids have safe routes to parks, whether by walking or biking. In urban areas, it might be easier for those municipalities to consult with their department of transportation to add bike lanes to existing roads compared to rural municipalities. As Jones points out: “We don’t have a lot of sidewalks; we’re in a rural community. My neighborhood doesn’t have sidewalks. Our downtown is a very walk-able [area] but getting people to our parks [is] kind of hard because we don’t have public transportation so easily accessible as urban areas. We also have to deal with a lack of funding and money. I think that in many more urban areas, they can pull from a couple different pots, where we have limited resources and limited budgets compared to those areas.” 10-Minute-Walk Training On March 5–6, NRPA hosted training in Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the 22 cities awarded 10-Minute Walk funding. Throughout the twoday event, attendees discussed approaches to creating more equitable park systems, participated in handson workshops and toured Chattanooga’s parks. Agency teams from Bennettsville and Winooski were among those in attendance. Jones describes the event as “a wealth of knowledge and information.” McNiel says because she and Jones didn’t have a park and rec background, they came “into this whole arena hungry for infor

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CITY OF WINOOSKI

The Casavant Nature Area includes several trails that run along the Winooski River.

mation….” As an example, Jones cites concerns about health and wellness in her state. “In South Carolina, we rank consistently at the very top of every negative health ranking,” she explains. “Coming into these positions, we knew that we had to do whatever we could to make some positive interventions through recreation for our community. NRPA and 10-Minute Walk have shown us avenues in which we can do that — [such as] creating shared-use agreements with our school district so that we can start these kids young with walking or biking to school.” Jones says these shared-use agreements will also enable adults and children to utilize school playgrounds after hours, while the school district can utilize the parks for its own events. They just need to work out the logistics. Ray Coffey, community services director at Winooski Department of Community Services, says, “We were fortunate to be selected as a grantee in the second cohort of the 10-Minute Walk. We are a

very small organization and such resources are really tight. So, we’ve known for a long time that we needed to do some more comprehensive parks planning and didn’t have a ready path forward in the way of resources to get that done.” Thus, the grant and the training will help the park agency move closer to achieving its objectives. Winooski, Vermont Winooski, Vermont, boasts a population of 7,782, with 82 percent of its parks accessible within a 10-minute walk. What’s more, Winooski Department of Community Services oversees 200 acres of park and open space throughout 1.4-square miles, as well as provides programming for a senior center, community gardens, community center and public library. “We are actually what I would call ‘Vermont urban,’” says Coffey. “Despite being in Vermont — which is, overall, an extremely rural place and has, generally, rural sensibilities — we are unique…in that we are a little bit more urban in nature.

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We’re the densest community in Northern New England.” He adds that his agency constantly grapples with a conflict between trying to do things in an urban way and catering to people with a rural mentality. “It’s an interesting challenge,” he continues. “So, we have to be creative about how we use space here, because we are so small. That’s different than a lot of our neighboring communities that have a lot more elbowroom to spread out into and to develop park space. For us, in particular, it’s really about: How do we leverage and maximize our resources and facilities to get the most bang for our buck? How do we keep them sustainable and in great shape for years to come?” Social Equity Is Top Priority For both these cities, it’s not just about park connectivity as much as it’s about building social equity and inclusivity to meet the needs of their diverse populations. For Bennetts-

ville, this remains a chief issue at the heart of the city’s long-term goals. When it comes to creating recreational programming, “we have to tackle diversity in a different way than urban areas do,” notes Jones. The community population includes African American (63.5 percent), Caucasian (32.5 percent), American Indian/Alaskan Indian (1.1 percent) and Other (0.8 percent), which includes Asian, East Indian and Mexican. Jones adds that with more urban areas, “they are more inclusive and easily can [provide] more diverse recreational offerings…. You can celebrate the heritage of certain people and do that in a park and draw people in an easy way.” She says in her city’s case, for instance, “If we want to have an Indian American festival and draw people to the park, they’re going to say, ‘What [type of] Indian festival? Is it East Indian? Is it Native Ameri-

The Master Plan Both Winooski and Bennettsville contend that the master plan for their respective cities must, first and foremost, reflect the wants and needs of all their constituents. That means engaging the community to provide their feedback. “[As] the recreation department tourism and park, we are in a fortunate position because people want to use our parks. They come into our office every day trying to reserve shelters in our parks,” Jones points out. “So, we have a direct connection to those individuals about what amenities in the parks they want, what improvements they’d like to see, [etc.]. So, it’s our goal to have an

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CITY OF WINOOSKI

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can?’ So, it’s kind of a barrier to us with programming.” Coffey says: “In terms of the general population, we’re about 20 percent non-white, which, for Vermont, is a very high percentage. We’re the most ethnically diverse in the state, and interestingly, we have the only majority-minority school district in the state. And then, in terms of socioeconomics, I think about 27 percent of the general population is living at or below the poverty line.” In addition, notes Coffey, “We are a Refugee Resettlement Community, so we’ve seen a really dramatic change in our demographics over the past 10 to 15 years, and it’s something we’re really embracing as a community and feel really strongly about. We have to focus on making sure that everybody is at the table and we’re having these big planning conversations. How do we create spaces that everyone feels welcome in?”

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assessment that individuals can fill out at our community events to give us feedback on parks.” Coffey also believes he’s very fortunate to encounter community members who want to be involved and provide input in the city’s planning process. He says that of the $40,000 grant that his agency received, he “anticipates using $32,000 of that for the consultant and professional support for developing the master plan.” Coffey notes about $3,000 of the funding already went to staff training, while the remaining $5,000 will go toward incidentals related to community engagement events and meetings. Coffey adds that this plan will affect about 15 parks throughout Winooski and will encompass retrofitting and renovation projects. However, he quickly points out that how these projects will be prioritized will be a community-driven process. “We will be focusing on the riverwalk area, given the need to make sure that downtown development doesn’t get ahead of our process,” he says. “But in terms of the rest of the process, we don’t want to have any presumptions going in.” Thus, his agency will leave it in the community’s hands to make those determinations. Jones says prior to learning about the 10-Minute Walk, “we had a rather large goal put out there by our mayor of a multiphase recreation project, which would include a splash pad, an amphitheater, renovation of a playground, expansive dog park and campsites, and it was kind of just his dream of what could be in our town at a certain

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CITY OF WINOOSKI

Rotary Park is quite literally at the heart of Winooski — providing an amazing green space with park benches.

location. So, when this grant came along, we thought it was the best way to achieve that goal for that multiphase recreation project. “Going through the process of writing the grant and doing our research…we found other underlying issues — whether it’s walkability, traffic-calming measures, completed streets and things [of that nature], it was kind of like peeling the layers back on an onion. You start in one spot and as you…delve into it… you kind of create this major goal of what you’d like,” she explains. Taking Small Steps Do these park agencies have an established timeline for their projects? According to Coffey, his team anticipates having a development plan for the parks and open spaces solidified by late March to early April 2020. “Building from that, we have some money that’s been generally allocated to parks development and/or park capital improvements. Our hope is that from there, we would use that plan to create an investment strategy and a spending plan for those capital dollars. So, we could see projects potentially beginning as early as spring 2020, de-

pending on the scope and scale that come out of the planning process.” As for Bennettsville’s master plan, Jones says it would be great to have at least a draft by the end of this year that would serve as a road map moving forward. In the meantime, the agency is focused on some of its short-term goals. McNiel says, “We are just in the process of completing a dog park in one of our city parks that’s on a major traffic thoroughfare for tourists as they travel to and from the Grand Strand of South Carolina’s beach area. So, we anticipate being able to get some travelers to Bennettsville for a little while to enjoy our parks and see our community.” “The 10-Minute Walk and park equity really have opened our eyes to what our parks are lacking and areas of growth for us in the short term and the long term,” says Jones. “We still want that huge multiphase recreation project to happen, but we’re going to keep taking the baby steps to get there.”

Vitisia Paynich is a Southern California-based Freelance Writer for Parks and Recreation magazine.

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NFERENCE A N N U A L C O BALTIMORE, MD | SEPTEMB ER 24–26

Insider’s Tips for Navigating the NRPA Annual Conference By Matt Brubaker

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reparing to attend a multiday conference away from home can be a daunting experience. What are you going to wear? How can you make sure you attend the best sessions? Where are the best places to eat or try a local brew? To help you prepare for the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference, we have a few insiders’ tips to help you get the most from your experience and enjoy your time in Baltimore.

Get “Swaggy” in the Exhibit Hall Whether you have a kid’s birthday or momentous anniversary coming up, the exhibitors at the NRPA Annual Conference are prepared to provide the gift you need to stay out of trouble at home. With more than 400 exhibitors, you will have the opportunity to collect a treasure trove of custom-branded, exclusive swag items. After your visit to the exhibit hall, you won’t need to ask for holiday gift lists, so bring an extra suitcase.

Discounts on Top Eats A trip to Baltimore is a trip that

must include great food. But, with close to 50 famous Baltimore restaurants and more than twodozen attractions, stores and transportation options offering discounts to all conference attendees who show their badges, you won’t have to bust your budget. Visit www.baltimore.org for a full list of all the great establishments giving discounts to conference attendees.

Act Like You’ve Been There The best and easiest way to plan your conference itinerary is to download the NRPA Events app. Browse the sessions and speakers, create your custom itinerary, start

connecting with other attendees, mark the exhibitors you want to visit and read the conference highlights — all in the palm of your hand. Every year, attendees rank the NRPA app as a highly valuable resource for navigating the conference. This year, it will be better than ever.

Don’t Miss Our Nation’s Capital Baltimore is only 40 miles from Washington, D.C., so you should plan to visit some of our nation’s most amazing historical attractions — where else can you enjoy free access to several amazing collections. Attend the Moonlight Tour of the D.C. Monuments to see some famous sites in a brand-new light. Join a tour guide on an educational driving/talking tour of the Capitol building, Library of Congress, African American History Museum and the Culture Museum. On Friday, September 27, join NRPA’s Public Policy team on Capitol Hill to meet your members of Congress and advocate for parks and recreation. All these activities require advance registration and space is limited, so sign up soon. For more information about the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, scheduled for September 24–26, visit www. nrpa.org/conference. Matt Brubaker is NRPA’s Director of Marketing (mbrubaker@nrpa.org).

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2019 ANNUAL CO NFERENCE SEPTEMB ER 24–26 | BALTIMO RE, MD

Unique Learning Opportunities for Directors By Josh Yavelberg

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uccessful park and recreation department leaders are in tune with rising challenges and national trends. That’s why at the NRPA Annual Conference, we provide the Directors’ Corner, a unique learning space where leaders from across the country come together to collaborate on cutting-edge issues, learn from some of the top minds in the industry and beyond, and take home practical, achievable solutions. The sessions offered in the Directors’ Corner have become some of the most popular at the conference not only because of the high-level speakers, but also for their level of interactivity. This year’s line-up includes topics, such as design thinking, homelessness, urban infrastructure, urban carbon credits, renewable energy, advocacy, capital investment strategies, among other timely topics and trends. Following are details about just a few of the sessions:

Living STEAM Laboratories: Mitigating/Adapting to Climate Change

wave of environmental leaders. The successful implementation of these programs will position parks as incubators for the environmental revolution needed to mitigate climate change. Speakers: John Pipoly, Ph.D., and Attiyya Atkins

Predicting Trends for the 2020s As we near the end of one decade, our thoughts naturally turn to what the next one will bring. This session is designed to help participants predict trends and plan for future shifts in an increasingly unpredictable time with changing demographics

and rapidly evolving technologies. The presenters will share insights on how to build an agency culture and mindset that can innovate and thrive in this changing landscape, as park and recreation agencies look to changes to their communities, policies, park and facility designs, financial sustainability, marketing and communications, partnerships, program delivery and innovation in general. Speakers: John Crompton, Ph.D., and Leon Younger Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be offered as part of Directors’ Corner and attendance will be limited to 175 people, available on a first-come, first-served basis. For the complete Directors’ Corner schedule, visit www.nrpa. org/conference. Josh Yavelberg is NRPA’s Director of Professional Development (jyavelbert@ nrpa.org).

The natural resources of parks and recreation are an invaluable defense to climate change. This interactive discussion is designed to help park and recreation professionals jumpstart “Living Laboratory” programs within their agencies. These programs showcase the innovative ways parks and their partners can adapt to the world’s environmental issues and raise conservation awareness. With parks as the venue, educators can engage students using hands-on, experiential, research-based STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) curricula to foment a new

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Some ‘Not-to-Be-Missed’ Special Events! By Catrina Belt

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s the largest park and recreation event in the world, boasting more than 8,000 attendees, it’s no surprise that networking continues to be one of the top reasons people attend the NRPA Annual Conference year after year. This year, there are more opportunities than ever to learn from inspiring people, reconnect with colleagues and make new meaningful relationships with peers from across the country. Here are just a few of the events you won’t want to miss in Baltimore:

Parks Build Community: Catherine ABC Park Dedication Each year, NRPA renovates a park in the conference host city. This year, NRPA worked with Baltimore City Parks and Recreation and various top-rated companies to renovate Catherine Street Park (www.nrpa. org/our-work/parksbuildcommu

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nity/catherine-abc-park-revitaliza tion) in the heart of Charm City. Thanks to the generous donations of several companies, this revitalized park will improve the local community and provide it with a great place for all ages. On Sunday, September 22, NRPA and the local community will come together for the grand opening of this amazing new park.

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Double the Keynote, Double the Inspiration The NRPA Annual Conference always features an inspirational keynote to help get the attendees off to an invigorating start. This year, there will be two keynote presentations (www.nrpa.org/conference/ program-schedule/keynote-speak er) for double the inspiration. Baseball Hall of Famer and former Baltimore Oriole, Cal Ripken, Jr., will set the tone for an inspiring conference at the Opening General Session on Tuesday, September 24. One of the most popular athletes of his generation, Ripken’s example inspires audience members of


2019 ANNUAL CO NFERENCE SEPTEMB ER 24–26 | BALTIMO RE, MD

all ages to achieve their own brand of success. On Thursday, September 26, the Closing General Session will cap off your experience with a presentation by Haben Girma, the first Deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School, followed by an energetic performance by A1 Chops — a renowned drumming duo from Baltimore. (See page 56 for more details about what promises to be a motivational send off!)

Ain’t No Party Like a Park and Recreation Party What would the largest park and recreation event of the year be without a little fun? The NRPA Opening Reception is the best place to unwind, socialize and show off your park rec two step to your colleagues. This year’s party will take place on Tuesday, September 24, at M&T Bank Stadium — home of the Baltimore Ravens. Attendees can enjoy live music and Baltimore-inspired food and drinks, while letting loose with thousands of their peers.

Networking Fun On Monday, September 23, firsttime attendees can network with other first-timers while enjoying food, drinks and painting fun at Phillips Seafood. Attendees will not only leave with new friends, but also with their very own hand-painted 2019 NRPA Annual Conference tote bag! We are also inviting current students to a unique networking event (www. nrpa.org/conference/networking-events/student-pep-rally) at the Hilton Baltimore Inner Harbor Hotel on Tuesday, September 24.

Students can hang out with fellow future park and recreation professionals and show off their school colors. There will also be multiple university graduate program representatives there to share details about their programs.

The Exhibit Hall of Your Dreams There’s so much to see and do in the exhibit hall, and each year it just gets bigger. With more than 400 exhibitors, the exhibit hall is filled with the newest, most innovative products and services in the field. Test out cutting-edge playground equipment, athletic gear, aquatics products and other services from top brands. Attendees can also join NRPA staff in the NRPA member area where there will be fun games, a comfortable space to network and get off your feet, and the opportunity to learn about all the member benefits.

Celebrate the Best of the Best At this annual ceremony, we recognize and celebrate the most inspirational people and programs by presenting the 2019 Innovation

Awards, Spotlight Awards and the Park Champion of the Year Award. We also recognize the newly accredited and re-accredited park and recreation agencies and academic programs, Young Professional Fellows, Diversity and Student Scholarship recipients, and professionals who have recently achieved their CPRP or CPRE designations.

Advocate for Parks and Recreation Washington, D.C., is only a short drive from Baltimore, so take advantage of this great opportunity to build relationships with your members of Congress. On Friday, September 27, NRPA’s Public Policy team will host a Hill Day to advocate for parks and recreation. The team will provide training, help schedule meetings with legislators and accompany you on your visit. If you don’t want to miss out on all of these events, make sure you register for the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference (www.nrpa.org/con ference) in Baltimore, Maryland, this September 24–26. Catrina Belt is NRPA’s Marketing Manager (cbelt@nrpa.org).

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How Is a Park and Rec Agency Like a Swiss Army Knife? By Tom Crosley

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or many communities, their park and recreation department is like the Swiss Army knife of the local government. Agencies take on a wide variety of responsibilities far from the typical playground management and fit-

ness classes. The public may be surprised to learn that park and recreation departments are tasked with duties, such as maintaining the local cemetery, snow removal or operating a farm or ranch. Being flexible and willing to accommodate

added responsibilities are crucial to their role in local government and, ultimately, to the fulfillment of their department’s mission. Increasingly, communities are looking to park and recreation departments for solutions to challenging social problems. That’s why NRPA provides education at our annual conference on trending issues, unique community dynamics and unconventional practices, such as the following:

Challenge: Engaging Diverse Populations Not Another Ball Game: Diverse Programs for Diverse Populations Diversity surrounds us, but do we program for it? Or, do we continue with traditional programming, leaving some residents behind and denying them the physical and psychological benefits of recreation programming? Traditional programs, such as sports leagues, camps or afterschool programs, are valuable, but diverse interests require diverse programs! This session will discuss dimensions of diversity, behavior and life stages as it relates to programming. We’ll share four specific programs that Idaho Falls Parks & Rec did to reach new people in new ways. NRPA advocates that park and rec agencies embrace social equity and the philosophy that “it is a right, not a privilege” for our residents to expect agencies to think beyond the traditional programs that flood our agencies and provide diverse program for diverse interests. Speakers: Roberto Abreo and Chris Horsley

Challenges: Opioid Epidemic and Homelessness Managing Your Parks During an Opioid and Homelessness Crisis Over the past decade, public parks have experienced a dramatic increase in illicit behaviors that threaten the safety of park patrons and employees. These behaviors are tied to a challenging web of deeply rooted societal issues related to substance abuse, mental health and homelessness. Although the root causes of these issues are well beyond the scope of providing park services, our departments are often overwhelmed, as they attempt to manage the unintended impacts of these societal problems in our parks. The perception of safety in our parks is paramount to our success. If our citizens do not perceive our parks and facilities as safe, they will not use or value them. In response, the Olympia Parks Department created a Safe and Secure Parks Initiative to address this growing threat to its park system. This workshop will outline the process utilized in Olympia and will provide participants with the knowledge base and inspiration to create their own initiative. Speakers: Sylvana Niehuser and Paul Simmons 56 Parks & Recreation

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Challenge: Parks and Recreation as a Resource for Promoting Mental Health Parks and Recreation Supporting Mental Health Challenges Mental illness in the United States has become pervasive, with individuals suffering from many disorders. There are opportunities for practitioners in our field to support the mental health challenges many individuals face every day. This session will provide an overview of the myriad disorders that exist and how parks and recreation can help provide support to mental health agencies, mental health professionals and individuals who suffer from mental illness, as well as those who want to maintain good mental health. It is a well-known fact that exercise can improve physical health. We will explore examples of agencies from around the country that are doing their part to create better mental health in their communities. Speakers: April Chambers and Barbara Heller

Challenge: Building Community Climate Resiliency Building Climate and Community Resilience Through Parks and Open Space The impacts of climate change are already being felt across the globe. Local, regional and state governments are exploring ways to address and mitigate the effects of increased drought, floods, extreme heat, wildfires and sea-level rise. Parks and open spaces provide important benefits and opportunities to address these impacts, while offering co-benefits of health, wellness and community recreation. This session will explore those opportunities and engage participants in a discussion about how they can leverage state and federal hazard funding to improve parks, while battling climate change. Speakers: Mindy Craig and Matthew Espie

Challenge: Staying Relevant and Fresh Top Trends in Parks and Recreation for 2020 What are the emerging trends in programming, design, management and technology for parks and recreation in 2020? This highly popular session covers them all, from geo-fencing to human composting. Presenters will throw in a dash of blue-sky thinking about what longer-term trends soon will be affecting parks and recreation and participants will be able to add their own observations and speculations. Come learn, speculate and prognosticate about what the future of parks and recreation will bring. Speaker: Rich Dolesh

PARK & REC

Come to the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference this September 24–26 in Baltimore, to learn from practitioners who have “been there, done that” and are willing to share their knowledge and experience to help guide your journey in all the unconventional, but lofty, endeavors that your agency faces. There really is no other event that covers the breadth of what parks and recreation touches and where you not only get to learn, but also to contribute your own unique perspective. Tom Crosley is NRPA’s Senior Manager of Education, Conferences and Schools (tcrosley@nrpa.org).

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Don’t Miss the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference Closing Session!

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Haben Girma: The first Deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School, a disability rights lawyer, author and speaker.

his year at the annual conference, NRPA will hold a Closing Session, Thursday, September 26, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., and you won’t want to miss it. Haben Girma, the first Deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School, will deliver an inspirational keynote address and musical duo A1 Chops, a drumming duo founded by Baltimore natives, Malik Perry and Timothy Fletcher, will give an energetic and entertaining performance. Haben, who travels the world teaching the benefits of choosing inclusion, believes disability is an opportunity for innovation. An advocate for equal opportunities for people with disabilities, Haben was named a “White House Champion of Change” by President Barack Obama and received the Helen Keller Achievement Award, along with a spot on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.   A1 Chops has appeared on “The

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Ellen Show” multiple times and has performed for the NFL. Perry and Fletcher were featured on Ellen’s digital original series, “The Build Up,” season one, as well. When they’re not performing, Perry and Fletcher like to visit Baltimore-area schools, where they encourage and inspire youth to follow their dreams and make them a reality. The 2019 NRPA Annual Conference will be held September 24–26 in Baltimore, Maryland. Cal Ripken, Jr., known as baseball’s “Iron Man,” will deliver the opening keynote address on Tuesday, Sept. 24. In addition to the NRPA Opening General Session and Closing Session, the conference will include more than 200 education sessions, including 12 education tracks (www.nrpa.org/conference/ program-schedule) that attendees can choose from. To learn more about the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference, visit www.nrpa.org/conference.


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Exhibit Hall at a Glance

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undreds of top park and recreation vendors and experts from around the country and across the field will be on hand to showcase their products and services in the exhibit hall at the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference. Following is a list of exhibitors that will join us in Baltimore September 24–26. This listing is current as of July 16, 2019, and is subject to change. Check your program guide, our handy Conference App or visit www.nrpa.org/conference for updates and details.

Exhibiting As Booth Number 2by2 Industries......................................... 6218 Academy of Model Aeronautics............5432 AccessRec, LLC........................................... 6136 Action Play Systems, LLC....................... 6045 Active Network, LLC................................ 5829 AGCO Corp................................................... 4400 AI CARE LLC................................................. 6601 AllChem Performance Products........... 3200 Alpha Card Compact Media LLC ....... 5745 American Carnival Mart.......................... 6422 American Heart Association.................. 4821 American Ramp Co....................................6324 American Red Cross.................................2403 Americana Building Products................5746 Ameristar Perimeter Security...............5024 Amilia........................................................... 5635 Anchor Audio, Inc..................................... 5528 Anova Furnishings................................... 4200 Aquatic Design Group..............................2700 Aquatic Development Group................. 6038 Aquatix by Landscape Structures....... 2806 Arizona Baseball Co................................. 6240 Artificial Ice Events/Fall Fest Events.. 4510 ATC CORP...................................................... 3210 Athletic Business........................................3311 Axio Soccer.................................................6434 Background Investigation Bureau, LLC..................................................................4217 Bag Spot..................................................... 2504 Bankshot Sports Org.............................. 2209 Barks and Rec............................................5937 BCI Burke Playgrounds............................ 4416 Beacon Athletics.......................................6337 Beam Clay®/Partac Peat Corp. ............5932 Becker Arena Products, Inc................... 6421 Bedford Technology................................ 3000 Berliner........................................................ 6012 BerryDunn...................................................5742 Big Toys.......................................................5708 Bison Inc. .................................................. 5428

Blick Art Materials.................................... 3301 Blue Rabbit Play, LLC............................... 5228 Bobcat Co.................................................... 6319 BoMar Soft Playgrounds, International..............................................5934 Bona US.........................................................5714 Book King Software................................ 4825 Bright White Paper Co. .............................2311 Brinkley Sargent Wiginton Architects................................................... 3406 BSN Sports.................................................. 5416 Cadron Creek Play.................................... 6425 California Sports Surfaces..................... 1806 CampDoc.com.............................................4720 CardConnect.............................................. 4822 Cedar Forest Products Co...................... 5125 Century Industries, LLC........................... 5212 CEW Enterprises/Sport Fence International....................................4311 Chemtrol..................................................... 2503 Cintas Corp..................................................4917 Citizen Systems America....................... 2308 CivicRec......................................................... 4511 Classic Recreation Systems, Inc.......... 3510 Clear Comfort.............................................4824 Collette........................................................ 6504 Commercial Recreation Specialists..... 5612 CommunityPass......................................... 4317 Contech Engineered Solutions LLC...... 4501 CORCL........................................................... 5018 Cornilleau Table Tennis.......................... 2609 Counsilman Hunsaker.............................2404 Coverworx - Recreational Architecture............................................... 4500 Cre8Play........................................................4414 Criterion Pictures....................................... 5118 Custom Ice Inc.......................................... 6440 CXT Precast Concrete Products........... 6232 Daktronics.................................................. 5534 Designmaster Fence............................... 2306 Disc Golf Association Inc. ..................... 5532

DiscGolfPark.............................................. 3509 Dog Wash Systems, USA........................ 2800 DOGIPOT....................................................... 4908 Dog-ON-It-Parks.......................................... 5116 Douglas Sports Equipment................... 4308 DuMor, Inc. ................................................ 3403 DuraPlay, Inc. ........................................... 4209 Dynamic Discs............................................6037 Earth Networks........................................ 6406 Easi-Set Buildings.................................... 4808 Eco Chemical............................................... 3110 Eco-Counter............................................... 5832 ecoFINISH, LLC............................................ 1804 Edmunds GovTech.................................... 6514 EMPEX Watertoys.....................................6506 Emuamericas/StopSpot........................... 6441 EnSoul Music Designs Inc. ................... 6040 Ephesus Lighting.......................................5712 Epic Outdoor Cinema.............................. 4403 ERC Wiping Products................................6137 ePACT Network Ltd. ............................... 6513 eTrak Recreation Software................... 5028 Ex-Cell Kaiser LLC...................................... 3100 Exeloo Public Restroom Solutions ... 2011 EZ Dock........................................................5424 Fahr Industries Ltd................................... 3601 Fahr Industries Ltd.................................. 3604 Fibar Systems............................................ 5120 FieldTurf...................................................... 5629 FieldTurf Commercial............................. 5433 FINE CHEMICAL ....................................... 6611 FlagHouse................................................... 6516 FlexGround, LLC........................................ 4306 FlingGolf...................................................... 3300 Flowbird...................................................... 5633 ForeverLawn Inc.......................................2706 Fountain People/Water Odyssey.......... 5710 Freenotes Harmony Park.......................6009 Frog Furnishings...................................... 2604 Fun Express............................................... 6432 Gale Associates, Inc. .............................. 2408 GameTime................................................... 5304 Gared Sports.............................................. 4210 GatorBridge and GatorDock......................3111 GeeseProblemSolved............................... 2508 Geographic Technologies Group........... 6143 Glasdon, Inc. ..............................................4924 Global Park USA - TiltilSeeSaw............. 6522 Gopher Sport............................................. 6405 Graffiti Solutions Inc. ............................. 2506 GrassGuard................................................. 5021 Grassmats USA LLC................................... 6219

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2019

NFERENCE A N N U A L C O BALTIMORE, MD | SEPTEMB ER 24–26

Greenfields Outdoor Fitness Equipment................................................... 6108 Greenfields Outdoor Fitness Equipment.................................................. 6208 GREGORY INDUSTRIES FENCE SYSTEMS...................................................... 5834 Grupo Azlo SAS...........................................5227 GT Grandstands......................................... 5316 GYMS FOR DOGS - NATURAL DOG PARK PRODUCTS........................................ 4206 Hellas Construction, Inc......................... 6419 Henderson Recreation Equipment....... 4801 HGACBuy.......................................................5217 High Roller USA......................................... 5533 Hitchcock Design Group..........................5124 Hustler Turf Equipment (Excel Industries)..................................... 6029 HydroPoint.................................................. 2103 HyLite LED, LLC.......................................... 6236 ICON Shelter Systems Inc...................... 5638 ID Sculpture............................................... 6229 Imagination Playground........................ 5529 Impact Canopies USA ............................ 6505 INNOVA Disc Golf.........................................2410 Insane Impact........................................... 3400 InterLine Cash Systems, Inc., dba Ca$hMateUSA.................................... 6603 60 Parks & Recreation

Invisible Structures................................. 6602 iStrike Alerts................................................2017 Jambette Playground Equipment Inc........................................... 2802 Jaypro Sports, LLC................................... 2004 JUST FUN S.C. ............................................. 4621 K&K Insurance Group, Inc...................... 6445 Kay Park Recreation Corp....................... 4410 KemperSports........................................... 6346 KirbyBuilt......................................................2701 KIX Soccer Centers.................................. 6043 KOMPAN, Inc................................................ 6019 Kronos.......................................................... 4310 Kwik-Covers............................................... 3503 Lake Country Corp....................................5733 Landmark Studio & Design.................... 6532 Landscape Structures Inc..................... 3003 Life Floor.......................................................4817 Lincoln Aquatics........................................ 5616 Little League Baseball & Softball..........2710 Little Tikes Commercial.......................... 5624 Lonza........................................................... 6524 Lose Design............................................... 5022 LTR Products............................................... 3001 Madrax/Thomas Steele........................... 6403 MAIS Software........................................... 6336

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Mask U.S. Inc. .............................................6241 Mateflex....................................................... 2310 Midwest Elastomers Inc........................ 4809 Miracle Recreation....................................6024 Miroad Rubber USA.................................. 4409 Mission Awards ....................................... 2409 Mitchell Rubber Products........................ 5119 Mitchell Rubber Products.......................3407 Mledtech ...................................................... 6141 Mobile-Score..............................................6608 Modern Shade LLC.................................... 6607 Mojo Art & Image....................................... 2510 Mondo.......................................................... 2400 Monster Mural, The.....................................2711 Most Dependable Fountains Inc. ......... 4612 MOTI™ Sports, Inc. .................................. 6529 MTD Products Co. (dba Cub Cadet)......6508 Murdock/Super Secur Mfg. Co. ............. 4819 Musco Lighting & U.S. Soccer Foundation.....................................................421 Musco Sports Lighting Inc.................... 4608 MyRec.com..................................................3607 MyTCoat Commercial Outdoor Furniture..................................................... 4919 National Alliance for Youth Sports.......6237 National Construction Rentals.............6424 National Cooperative Leasing............... 6321 National Recreation Systems................ 5716 NCSI - Background Screening Program.......................................................2304 NetPlay USA LLC........................................ 5940 Nets & More............................................... 5640 NGI Sports, a Division of River City Athletics, LLC......................... 2303 Nirbo Aquatic Inc. .................................... 6412 No Fault, LLC............................................... 6016 Noratek Solutions Inc. ............................2207 North West Rubber.................................. 4208 NPPGov.........................................................3507 NRPA Learning Playground.................... 6048 NRPA LIVE.....................................................2217 NRPA Lunch Seating Area .................... 5648 NRPA Member Area................................... 1622 Omega II Fence Systems....................... 6036 Outdoor Aluminum Inc.............................. 4811 Outdoor Movies......................................... 6624 Outdoor-Fit Exercise Systems.............. 6446 OutdoorLink, Inc. ...................................... 1906 Pannier Corp. ............................................ 3408 Paris Site Furnishings & Outdoor Fitness......................................... 5219 ParkInk......................................................... 4216


2019 ANNUAL CO NFERENCE SEPTEMB ER 24–26 | BALTIMO RE, MD

Parks & Recreation Magazine............... 6201 Partymachines.com.................................. 1903 PDC.................................................................5717 Peak Software Systems......................... 2500 PearlWeave Safety Netting Corp. ...... 2203 Percussion Play Ltd.................................. 3610 PerfectMind............................................... 5429 Perry Weather Consulting..................... 6235 Pilot Rock Park Equipment.................... 5216 Pioneer Bridge...........................................6437 Plastic Recycling of IA Falls....................4313 Play & Park Structures........................... 5904 PlayCore.......................................................5704 Playcraft Systems..................................... 5108 PlaygroundEquipment.com................... 6428 PlayGuard Safety Surfacing.................. 5222 PlayVentures, Inc. ......................................3211 Play-Well TEKnologies.................................719 Playworld.................................................... 5619 Pliteq Inc. | TREAD Boünce..................... 1908 POINTMARKERS INC ................................. 2003 Polin Waterparks......................................6243 Polly Products............................................ 3410 Polyfix AB.................................................... 3504 Porter Corp. .............................................. 5909 Precision Playgrounds........................... 6220 Premier Polysteel Outdoor Furniture.................................... 3309 Presto Geosystems..................................2204 Price Chopper Wristbands..................... 3508 Pro Recreation LLC, dba Sport Systems...................................2709 Profitable Food Facilities.........................4213 ProMinent Fluid Controls, Inc. .............. 6614 Protect Youth Sports...............................5327 Public Restroom Co................................. 4600 PYI, Inc..........................................................2702 Qitele Group Co. Ltd................................. 4603 QNC, Inc./Quik n’ Crispy........................... 4316 QR F.I.T. Trail, LLC....................................... 6503 Rain Bird Corp............................................ 3201 Rain Drop Products, LLC.......................... 5816 Randolph Rose Collection...................... 6340 RATIO.............................................................5935 REACH Media Network............................ 6042 RecDesk Software................................... 2309 ReCPro Software........................................4721 Recreation Resource Management.... 4408 Recreonics, Inc. ....................................... 4508 REI Corporate Sales................................. 2406 RenoSys Corp............................................. 5614 RenoSys Corp............................................ 6335

Risk Management Services Inc............. 6318 Robertson Recreational Surfacing....... 4916 Rocky Mountain Sunscreen....................2104 Romtec, Inc................................................6606 ROSTA USA.................................................. 3409 Rubberecycle..............................................5224 Rusty Oak Nursery Ltd............................ 5126 S&S Worldwide, Inc................................. 4620 Safe Sitter.................................................. 6436 Safeslide Restoration............................. 5840 Schmitz Foam Products Inc....................5127 SCORE SPORTS............................................2402 Seilfabrik Ullmann GmbH........................ 5231 Shade Creations by Waterloo............... 3009 Shade Systems, Inc. .................................4921 Shaw Sports Turf...................................... 5019 Shelby Trailer Service, LLC..................... 3209 SideWalk Buttler.......................................6427 SnapSports, Inc..........................................1706 SockGuy.......................................................2507 Sof’Solutions Inc.......................................5732 sofSURFACES............................................. 6408 SOLaware Technologies......................... 6246 Sourcewell..................................................6322 South Padre Island (SPI) Nets, Inc...... 2208 Special Olympics...................................... 6435 Speck Pumps - Pool Products, Inc...... 2206 SpectraTurf..................................................5317 Spectrum Aquatics................................... 5410 SplashTacular............................................ 5328 Spohn Ranch Skateparks...................... 6429 Sport Court.................................................5740 Sportgroup................................................. 4203 SportsPlay Equipment, Inc..................... 6316 Stageline Mobile Stage, Inc.................... 5812 STARGUM...................................................... 4301 Stern-Williams Co., Inc............................. 5122 Strike Visuals..............................................1704 Superior Recreational Products.......... 4804 Surface America, Inc................................2703 Swank Motion Pictures.......................... 2608 Sybertech Waste Reduction Ltd........... 6140 SYNLawn Chesapeake Bay.....................5837 Taylor Studios, Inc................................... 2300 The Lifeguard Store................................. 5833 The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Department of Parks and Recreation, Prince George’s County....................................... 5843 The Miracle League Association...........2704 The Recreational Group ....................... 6032 The Toro Company.................................... 5012

The Triax System........................................4312 Think Green Promos................................. 4816 TMA Systems, LLC....................................... 3011 TOWELHUB.COM......................................... 5938 TownSuite Municipal Software............ 4300 Trigon Sports.............................................. 3109 Tru-Motion................................................... 6418 True Pitch................................................... 6438 Tuff Coat Mfg., Inc. ................................. 2606 Turf Tank.................................................... 6400 Tyler Technologies................................... 4820 TYPAR Geosynthetics, a Berry brand............................................ 5835 Ultimate RB, Inc......................................... 6416 Ultra Play..................................................... 5707 Ultra Site...................................................... 5104 UNION AQUA PARKS.................................... 5121 United States Tennis Association....... 2809 Unity Surfacing Systems....................... 6238 US eDirect Inc............................................. 6414 US Lacrosse................................................ 6138 USA Shade...................................................5422 Valmont Composite Structures Carsonite Brand........................................2607 Varsity Scoreboards.................................. 2110 Ventrac......................................................... 5419 Verizon Connect....................................... 5026 Vermont Systems, Inc............................. 4910 Victor Stanley, Inc.................................... 5025 Vortex Aquatic Structures Int’l, Inc.... 6204 Wabash....................................................... 5524 Water Safety Products, Inc. ...................6617 Water Technology, Inc. ............................4318 Waterplay Solutions Corp. ......................5412 Water’s Edge Aquatic Design............... 6404 Weathermatic/Ecoturf............................ 2600 Weber Group, Inc. ................................... 3506 Wenger Corp............................................... 6216 Weston and Sampson..............................5743 WhiteWater West Industries, Ltd. ...... 4813 Whitman, Requardt & Associates, LLP.......................................... 6041 Wickcraft Co. ............................................. 6410 Williams Architects.................................. 4512 Willoughby Industries............................ 5632 Wireless Telematics, LLC....................... 4309 WT Group..................................................... 4918 XGrass......................................................... 6032 X-Trails..........................................................2708 Yonglang Group Co., Ltd......................... 2006 Zamboni....................................................... 6214 Zeager Bros., Inc....................................... 5016

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NRPA UPDATE Member Spotlight: Attiyya Atkins By Lindsay Collins

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ttiyya Atkins is a public communications specialist for Broward County Parks and Recreation in Florida. In this role, she engages with the community through digital means, events, social media and more. Atkins, a recipient of the 2019 NRPA Diversity Scholarship, will be presenting her agency’s newly developed STEAM program at the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference. Parks & Recreation recently talked with Atkins to learn more about the STEAM program, her thoughts on diversity and what keeps her motivated. Parks & Recreation: What about your job inspires you most? Attiyya Atkins: At our agency, we’re always pushing that parks aren’t only fun, but are also an environmental venue, a science venue. We try to give people different eyes toward parks. My task, as of late, is bringing the park system into the digital age through social media and online connections, as well as by changing the face of our parks to be not just recreation centers, but also learning centers.

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What inspires me is that there is so much to learn. I get to go out to the parks and showcase what we’re doing, but I also get to interact with the scientists, people who are passionate about parks and our environment. I get to learn something new every day and share it with others so everyone can catch this environmental bug that I’ve got. P&R: You are presenting at NRPA’s 2019 Annual Conference on a STEAM program newly created by your agency. Can you tell us a bit more about the program? Atkins: We’ve had a lot of environmental programs coming to our parks. Now, we’re taking stock of them and reaching out to the public-school systems to have a formally structured program. We work with local schools to bus students into our parks to get hands-on learning experiences that will show them the value of the environment. They learn about mangroves and their effect on air quality, pollution’s effect on water and how land pollution affects the fiddler crabs’ mating season. There’s so much information we give — sometimes it doesn’t stick and sometimes it does, but just giving that information out to the students is beneficial. And, we’ve seen great results. The students I just mentioned

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went on to win an essay contest about water pollution and water quality. It just goes to show that the repeated exposure to the environment and how it plays a role in our daily lives is beneficial to these students, the progressive-thinking younger generation. P&R: You are also a recipient of the 2019 NRPA Diversity Scholarship. Can you tell us a bit about what diversity and inclusion mean to you? How do you think parks and rec can make an impact in this realm? Atkins: Parks are for everyone. Diversity means not just having a diverse staff, but having everyone on your staff understand who they are serving and how best to serve them. It sounds simple, but it’s so multifaceted. For example, I’m African American and I and people I know get their information from the internet, so social media is a good market for that demographic. But, older people may prefer TV, so we must find a way to get into television. Knowing each niche market and how to approach it has been useful in showcasing how important parks are to everyone. For me to get a clear head on who we are serving, I make profiles of people I have met or seen in parks, and I don’t exclude anyone. This includes homeless people and others we may not typically think of. We have to think of them and the way they get their information. And, I believe, sometimes, people think that if you focus on one


population you are neglecting other populations or demographics, but that’s not true. To be a leader in inclusion, you should pay specific attention to people who need it. In my research, I’ve found that lower-income communities or ethnic communities have less participation in their parks because they don’t know the services we have, which could be due to a lack of marketing, advertising and/or printing budget to get the word out or that we aren’t communicating in their language. Diversity brings life to any organization and any situation. We’ve got a lot of diverse programs at our parks. We have neighborhood parks that are mostly in urban and African-American communities, which have free summer camps and free afterschool programs because that is an issue for that area — there are a lot of latchkey kids whose parents must work long hours. We also offer free food, free life-skill programs and free STEAM workshops in those communities. For people with disabilities, we have tandem bike riding and yoga. We offer activities for blind people and for veterans. We specialize in having niche activities so people can really feel that their park is theirs, and that someone cares about their wants and needs. P&R: How have you seen the effects of your work take shape in your community? Atkins: I really see it in the children. It sticks in the children, and it’s because of that handson experience they’re having in the parks. For example, we’re removing an invasive species with

heart-shaped leaves that is growing everywhere. If you were to learn about it in a textbook, you’d probably forget it. But, we are out there digging up leaves, there’s music playing and people are making jokes, like “why do all invasive species have heart-shaped leaves when they just suck the life out of the native species!” The community of learning that occurs in parks while you’re doing an environmental cleanup, or a structured STEAM event, makes it stick. The students remember things more. P&R: What is one thing about you that people might be surprised to learn? Atkins: I like to sing, and I like to make music and be creative. I used to be a rapper — I used to rap on the subway and in Queens, where I lived. About 10 years ago, that was something I was really into. That’s out of my love for poetry and spoken word. Note: Atkins will be a co-presenting the following two sessions at this year’s conference along with her colleague John Pipoly III, Ph.D., FLS, project coordinator, STEAM/ Environmental Education, Volunteers and Grants, Broward County Parks and Recreation Public Communications and Outreach Group: “A Toolkit for Managing the EE (Environmental Education) and ESD (Education for Sustainable Development) Continuum” - September 24, 4:30 p.m. – 4:50 p.m.; and “Living STEAM Laboratories: Mitigating/Adapting to Climate Change” – September 26, 2:30 – 3:45 p.m.

— Lindsay Collins, Associate Editor for Parks & Recreation magazine

At NRPA, we know Parks Matter. And, people’s passion for these spaces is sparking a nationwide park movement. Have you witnessed a park movement in your community? Show us by posting a photo on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #NRPAConference.

Submit your photo

by September 1, and it might be featured during the Opening General Session at the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference.

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N R PA U P DAT E

There’s Power in Partnership Hot Topics NRPA Connect is an online network with more than 62,000 professionals who are willing to answer your questions, share their experiences with similar challenges you may be facing and discuss trending topics in the field. Check out a topic that’s being discussed: Non-Traditional Sports Programs and Activities – I’m looking for ideas and suggestions of nontraditional sports and activities, not to replace current popular offerings but to expand programs and, perhaps, gain new participants. Several NRPA members offered the following suggestions: We just opened a small parkour gym and the programs are blowing the roof off the facility. We also have had more birthday parties with parkour as a theme than all our other birthday parties combined.

N

ational IPA and U.S. Communities are now OMNIA Partners, Public Sector — the largest, most-trusted cooperative purchasing organization for public-sector procurement. The collective buying power of these unified cooperatives delivers superior value and savings for your park and recreation purchases and projects.

Portfolio

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OMNIA Partners has the most robust portfolio of quality contracts in the cooperative space. Our agreement portfolio has everything your government entity/educational institution needs to run efficiently and effectively.

People OMNIA Partners has the most experienced cooperative team in public procurement, cooperative purchasing and contract management. With more than 200 combined years of public procurement experience and over 300 years of cooperative purchasing experience, you can trust that you are in good hands with our team.

Process We hold a chicken curling tournament before we take our ice out at our rink and people love it!

Our contracts are competitively solicited and publicly awarded by a government entity acting as the lead agency. Awards are made utilizing this best practice, ensuring maximum value and absolute security with complete transparency of the process.

Saving You Time and Money If you have land available, disc golf is a wonderful option. We opened an 18-hole course seven years ago, and it has brought in thousands of people who would never have set foot in the park where it is located. All ages and demographics play!

Are you currently hosting a unique program that has been successful? Log in to NRPA Connect (www. nrpaconnect.org) today to share! Don’t forget to download the NRPA Connect App to either post or answer questions or view responses on the go.

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With no cost to participate and no minimum order requirements, government entities/education organizations of any size can purchase the products, services and solutions they need at volume discount prices that would be nearly impossible to attain individually. You’ll be able to leverage our cooperative purchasing standards and supplier commitments to deliver value and savings to your organization. For general information, visit www.nrpa.org/ membership/Mem ber-Discounts/ omnia-partners.


A Tool to Help Measure Green Infrastructure Benefits

C

ommunity resilience sits at the heart of the daily work of thousands of park and recreation professionals. They strive to improve the local environment and promote the physical, mental and social well-being of residents. NRPA supports this work through its Great Urban Parks Campaign, which helps parks implement green infrastructure (GI) projects and build healthy, vibrant, climateresilient communities. Through the campaign, NRPA launched the Green Infrastructure Evaluation Framework (www.nrpa.org/gi-frame work) tool to assist in these efforts.

Benefits of GI in Parks GI encompasses stormwater management solutions, such as green roofs, trees, rain gardens or permeable pavement. These elements capture, store and infiltrate rain where it falls, reducing flooding, enhancing water quality and improving not only the health of local waterways, but also of local individuals, as well as the economy of nearby communities.

Framework Helps Measure Success GI parks provide many powerful benefits, but few resources exist

GreenInfrastructure Evaluation Framework

for collecting data at the project sites. The Framework encourages the collection of data about the environmental, social, economic and health benefits without requiring a ton of time, money or experience. The Framewor’s downloadable tools and research-informed text, provides a complete measurement plan, spanning from the conceptualization through completion of the GI project, through three simple steps: • define a project’s goals • collect data • use data to improve future GI work Access this new NRPA resource at www.nrpa.org/gi-framework.

NOW AVAILABLE Measure the benefits of green infrastructure in an easy and concise way. NRPA’s online set of tools helps you collect data and share the benefits of your projects with key stakeholders and your community. Access now at nrpa.org/gi-framework

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©MYLES MELLOR

Parks & Recreation Crossword

Across 1 Location of the winning shot in the Park and Recreation Month cover contest, 2 words 6 Really awesome! 8 First name of the Harvard Law School graduate who wrote Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law 9 Great recreation option in many beachbased parks 11 Oprah’s TV network 12 Keyword at the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference in Baltimore 14 Malik___, part of the musical duo A1 Chops, working on rebuilding parts of Baltimore 17 What you sow you will ___ 19 Attractive beach collectibles 20 Durations of life 22 BBQ cooking area 24 Top pilot 26 The interlinked environment 30 Much-loved reptiles that frequent East Coast beaches, 2 words 33 West Coast state, abbr. 34 NFL player from LA 36 Out of the house 37 Recreational gatherings of people with special needs siblings

Down 1 They get regular running exercise 2 Take care of and allow to develop 3 Bikini part 4 Solution 5 Lady talked about 6 Promotional piece for a park event 7 Dune ___ 10 All nations’ org. 11 Over 8 hours work in a day, abbr. 13 Friend and supporter 14 Loudspeaker system, abbr. 15 Org. concerned with the environment, abbr. 16 Numbered Rd. 18 Vast 21 Develop 22 Exercise class abbr. 23 Sacred objects that serve as emblems for Native Americans 25 Singer who sang “Level Up” 27 Fenced areas 28 National Lifesaving Association abbr. 29 Something entertaining 31 Three-way 32 Popular pet, for short 35 Travel

Complete the crossword, then visit www.nrpa.org/crossword to verify your answers and to enter a drawing to receive a $50 shopping credit for AthleticJunction.com. A winner will be randomly selected August 31, 2019. 66 Parks & Recreation

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NRPA is dedicated to providing learning opportunities to advance the development of best practices and resources that make parks and recreation indispensable elements of American communities. Find out more at www.nrpa.org/education.

CEU OPPORTUNITIES FOR CPRP RENEWAL! Continuing education is an important part of any career, helping individuals stay current with the rapidly evolving trends and issues facing their chosen profession. Certified Park and Recreation Professionals (CPRPs) are required to earn 2.0 CEUs during their two-year certification cycle. If you have your CPRP and are looking for CEU renewal opportunities, there are a variety of ways to do so, including NRPA online learning and educational events, such as those held at our annual conference; completion of local events or trainings; petitioning for credit through the NRPA CEU Petition; and with Professional Service Experience (PSE) that can be earned through certain volunteer services, such as speaking at the NRPA Conference or serving as a CAPRA visitor. For more information on CEUs and CPRP renewals, visit www.nrpa.org/CPRP.

SCHOOLS AND CONFERENCES

August 18–22, 2019

Hyatt Lodge, Oak Brook, Illinois www.nrpa.org/Directors

September 24–26, 2019

AUG

Saratoga Springs, New York Griffin, Georgia West Hollywood, California Dublin, Ohio Leesburg, Virginia Baltimore, Maryland

1-2 Sarasota, Florida 12-13 Gainesville, Florida 20-21 Sacramento, California

SEP

11-13 16-18 17-19 18-20 18-20 21-23

AFO PROGRAM

12-13 18-19 19-20 22-23 26-27

OCT

AUG

13-15 Fayetteville, New York 14-16 Littleton, Colorado 21-23 Hobbs, New Mexico

SEP

CPSI PROGRAM

1-2 3-4 7-8 8-9

www.nrpa.org/CPSI

Naples, Florida West Bend, Wisconsin Escondido, California Baltimore, Maryland Jupiter, Florida

Baltimore, Maryland www.nrpa.org/Conference

November 3–7, 2019 Wheeling, West Virginia www.nrpa.org/SMS

www.nrpa.org/education

Stone Mountain, Georgia Ceres, California Whitestown, Indiana Jefferson City, Missouri

www.nrpa.org/AFO

SEP

PLAYGROUND MAINTENANCE COURSES 12 16 17 17 23

Show Low, Arizona Leesburg, Virginia Town of Florence, Arizona Leesburg, Virginia Baltimore, Maryland

www.nrpa.org/playgroundmaintenance

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OPERATIONS Creating a Destination Aqua Playground for All Abilities By Bill Hachmeister, AFO

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innemucca Recreation Complex in Winnemucca, Nevada, was a project collaboration between the city of Winnemucca, Minnesota-based Aquatix by Landscape Structures Inc. and local consultants, ExerPlay, Inc. The recreation complex, designed to be a cooling oasis in the desert of Nevada, includes a splash pad that covers a total of 3,500 square feet and 2,400 square feet of wet play area.

The Vision

PHOTOS COURTESY OF LANDSCAPE STRUCTURES INC.

Installed in 2018, this splash pad is the first of its kind in the surrounding area. The vision was to create a modern-looking space by incorporating innovative equipment and

positioning it to meet the needs of all users. The location also influenced the planning process, as the complex is near a Boys & Girls Club and is surrounded by youth soccer fields and an adult fitness

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area. Winnemucca Recreation Complex provides a community gathering space with multiple activities for children and families. In order to be considered a success, the splash pad needed to accommodate community members of all ages. The nearby establishments, such as the adult fitness area and youth soccer fields, meant there was potential for a constant influx and change in the types and ages of people frequenting the splash pad. Designers met this challenge by creating areas that cater to specific age groups. Younger players typically enjoy a gentler water experience, while older kids prefer highly interactive features with high volumes of water. Designers also needed to consider supervision levels when determining the placement of equipment for different age ranges. They focused on inclusive elements, choosing equipment at various heights — so children of all abilities would be able to reach and engage with their peers — and on incorporating space between equipment so there is adequate room for wheelchair turnaround and passing by. So that children could participate and play together, rather than just alongside each other, an overlap for different ages and abilities was also important. All these factors create

Water play equipment layout should have pieces placed at differing heights for a range of ages and abilities to reach and spaced to accommodate wheelchairs.


Younger players typically enjoy a gentler water experience, while older kids prefer highly interactive features with high volumes of water.

an accessible, fully inclusive environment that welcomes all children and their families.

The Elements Included in the design is a dynamic zone for children ages 7 and older for whom high-volume, highly interactive features are especially important. These players enjoy continual excitement and interaction to keep them busy, so there is a VersoSplashÂŽ, which drops 35-gallon buckets of water that splash off the acrylic deflector plate onto the kids below for excitement and the thrill of unexpected water play. A CanopyTrio with Acrylic extends two arms of continuous water showers that splash in different directions, while a third arm slowly fills before pouring the bucket of water onto kids below. The added acrylic panels provide distinctive design while casting cool shadows. The gentle activity zone includes fun for infants and toddlers, and aids in learning to enjoy texture and water through gentle aqua play. Close to the perimeter of the play area are dry zones from which adults can supervise these younger kids and the kids can easily interact/play with caregivers. A WhirlFlex feature creates a unique archway with six tubular poles of varying heights, each curving inward, projecting multiple fine mist sprays through the passage they create. For little ones to learn more about cause and effect, a WellSpring feature spouts continuous streams of water that can be controlled by little fingers or hands

blocking the streams to build pressure in the other streams around the perimeter of the curved post. All ages can explore water play together with the JetStream. Users pull the plunger to fill the chamber and push to release a stream of water, tagging friends both near and far away. All these pieces work in harmony to provide a space that entertains and cools off entire families who may be visiting from nearby

activities or attractions. Those in the planning and design process of their community’s splash pad can look to the Winnemucca Recreation Complex, an example of a splash pad with inclusive elements that caters to children of various ages. This modern, user-friendly splash pad design has truly become a destination for families. Bill Hachmeister, AFO, is the Channel Development Manager for Aquatix by Landscape Structures Inc. (billhachmeister@playlsi. com). @playlsi

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Flying High in Buenaventura Park Weber County, Utah’s disc golf course By Betty Sosnin

W

hat do you get when you take a park and recreation department, add a convention and visitors bureau (CVB), a local sports organization and a dash of problem solving? A championship-rated disc golf course, of course. At least, that’s what the Weber County Parks and Recreation Department achieved in 2018 when it built a disc golf course in Fort Buenaventura Park.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF TEAM UTAH OPEN

Disc golf fairways are left natural, so they require no watering and little maintenance.

The park, which is located a mile outside Ogden, Utah, is on an 84-acre tract on the Weber River. It showcases the Great Basin’s transition from nomadic Indian tribes and trappers to

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the first permanent settlements. Facilities include picnic areas, camping, a canoeing pond and a replica of the original fort with three cabins. In true pioneering spirit, the department didn’t build the course alone. It teamed up with a local disc golf club, Team Utah Open, and the county’s CVB, “Visit Ogden.” Together, they held a discgolf-course raising that benefits and enriches the entire community.


Jade Sewell, owner of Ridgeline Architects, disc golf devotee and president of Team Utah Open, suggested the course to Parks and Recreation Director Todd Ferrario. Sewell explains that disc golf is one of the fastest-growing recreational sports in the world and loads of fun. “One thing that makes disc golf so popular is its affordability,” says Joe Chargualaf, executive director of the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA), the sport’s member organization and governing body. “You can begin with a $15 disc, and most courses have no or very low green fees. Anyone can play, and players walk 2–3 miles on an average 18-hole course.” For these reasons, the number of disc golf courses almost tripled between 2000 and 2018. Many courses are in city and county parks in the United States.

Instead of hitting balls with clubs, disc golfers throw high-tech discs into elevated metal baskets, such as this one.

ers into the area would let us reclaim the land for its intended use.” Ferrario also wanted to dispel the common misconception that disc golfers are slackers. “My experience immediately put that to rest,” he says. “Disc golf is a mature sport with players of all ages and walks of life. They have a strong sense of community and are eager to help if you do something for the sport.” Chargualaf agrees: “This was not an isolated incident. Local disc golf clubs often support park and recreation departments with their disc golf courses,” he adds. Ferrario applied for and received a Recreation, Arts, Museums and Parks (RAMP) Grant from Weber County in the amount of $19,800, which the agency matched.

“You can begin with a $15 disc, and most courses have no or very low green fees. Anyone can play, and players walk 2–3 miles on an average 18-hole course.” Reclaiming Parkland

A Labor of Love

Ferrario met with commissioners, the CVB and members of the community; then filtered the advantages and disadvantage of the course. He knew it would be popular with the community, but also thought it might help solve a problem. “The park’s 15-acre perimeter was not being used, and transients were camping on parts of the land that bordered a railroad line,” Ferrario explains. “While we sympathized with them and referred them to social services, I thought getting play-

Local disc golfers shifted into high gear, with members of Team Utah Open donating thousands of hours to help build the course. The team even brought Will Schusterick, a three-time PDGA U.S. Disc Golf Championship winner, to Ogden to give them a pro’s perspective. “Will stood in our tee boxes, discussed landing areas and gave us some great suggestions,” Ferrario relates. Sewell designed the Buenaventura course pro bono, modifying the plans hole by hole to reduce

Tips on Building a Disc Golf Course • Allow approximately 1 acre per hole for the course. You may need less land if the site is heavily wooded and you build a shorter course. • Find an experienced course designer. Visit www.pdga.com/ documents/choosing-a-coursedesigner. • Team up with your local disc golf club. It can help you decide what kind of course the community needs and work with you through the planning and building process. The club may also promote the park and assist with tournaments, communication and maintenance. • Take advantage of the PDGA’s resources. It does not design or build courses but does offer guidelines for building courses that may attract PDGA events. Visit www. pdga.com/course-development. • Bring your convention and visitors bureau in up front. It can identify tournaments on which it can bid and build relationships with the PDGA and other organizations.

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OPERATIONS

A player throws a disc across a pond on the disc golf course that’s also known as “The Fort.”

tree removal and create a visually pleasing and challenging course. Thanks to old-fashioned teamwork, the department built a PDGA-rated championship course worthy of sponsoring a major PDGA event. Known simply as “The Fort,” the course crosses the Weber River several times and weaves its way around creeks and under old shade trees. Multiple tee pads allow everyone, from beginners to pros, to play.

Minimum Maintenance The total cost of the course, $40,000, includes metal baskets and sleeves, concrete tee pads, professional signage, garbage cans, benches, machinery rental from the county and some paid labor. Since disc golf fairways are left cleared, the course requires little maintenance, much of which is done by Team Utah Open through regular 72

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cleanup days devoted to maintaining and improving the course. “Several of the members are even cleared to use our small equipment,” Ferrario states. Theft-proof boxes at the 1st and 9th holes let players leave a $2 donation to help with course maintenance. “The course turned out to be one of the smartest investments we’ve ever made,” says Ferrario. Despite long, hard winters, between 50,000 and 60,000 players have a fling on it every year. Two local leagues play the course regularly, and it hosts five or six tournaments every summer.

Economic Impact Months before the course opened, Ferrario and others attended a PDGA tour stop in Las Vegas, where they learned how the PDGA runs its tournaments. After meeting with the PDGA and investigat-

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ing sponsorship opportunities, Visit Ogden compiled a bid for the 2020 PDGA Professional Disc Golf World Championships. The tournament will bring 288 of the world’s best disc golfers and thousands of fans to the area and ring up as much as $2 million in economic impact. “About nine months after the course was completed, we were awarded the bid,” Ferrario adds. “Team Utah Open are great ambassadors for the park,” he continues. “Since the announcement of our winning the 2020 World Championship, disc golfers from all over the country and even Europe have contacted Sewell and visited Ogden to play the course.” “If you have the land, build a disc golf course,” Ferrario encourages. “It’s a recipe for success.” Betty Sosnin is a Freelance Writer based in Augusta, Georgia (bettysosnin@knology. net).


Advocate for Parks and Recreation Without Going to Capitol Hill

Sign up to become a Park Champion, then use NRPA’s resources to guide you through asking your U.S. representative and U.S. senators to support federal policy that helps parks and recreation in your community.

nrpa.org/Park-Champions


PRODUCTS Rotary Mowers

Safety Laser Scanners Banner Engineering, provider of technology for industrial automation, recently announced the release of its SX Series safety laser scanners for safeguarding areas, access points and mobile equipment in a wide range of industrial applications. The SX Series safety laser scanner protects personnel and equipment within user-defined warning and safety zones. It continuously scans a 275-degree area around the device to detect objects as they enter each zone. SX Series safety laser scanners can be configured to meet specific application needs using the free configuration software. The software can be used to design custom safety and warning zones to accommodate existing infrastructure and satisfy unique application requirements. BANNER ENGINEERING, 888.373.6767, WWW.BANNERENGINEERING.COM

The Toro® Groundsmaster® 4000-D and 4010-D rotary mowers boast a powerful turbo-charged 55 horsepower, Tier 4 Final-compliant diesel engine. With the new Smart Power™ technology, high-engine torque and patented, HybridDrive™ cutting-deck system, the Groundsmaster 4000-D and 4010-D deliver power where you need it most. With their excellent trimming capability and an ability to mow a zero-inch uncut circle, the Groundsmaster 4000-D and 4010-D are extremely efficient mowers. The patented, parallel-hydraulic traction system maintains consistent hydraulic flow between the front and rear wheels to assure full-time, four-wheel drive. Operators can enjoy either the open-air model in the 4000-D or a climate-controlled, all-season safety cab with the Groundsmaster 4010-D. THE TORO COMPANY, 877.345.8676, WWW.TORO.COM

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Coordinated Site Amenities Park and landscape designs often specify site amenities coordinated to an overall theme, including materials and colors. Pilot Rock products are offered in many materials that allow you to select matching products and colors to achieve the desired look. Recently added new materials and new colors — plus custom colors — expand your opportunities. From rustic wood products to sophisticated coated-steel components, you can match a bench to a picnic table to a trash receptacle to a planter. PILOT ROCK, 800.762.5002, WWW.PILOTROCK.COM

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Submit your photos online at nrpa.org/Premier-Calendar-Contest Accepting Submissions until August 31, 2019

John Deere................................................................................................... 13

Away with Geese.......................................................................................75

Kay Park Recreation Company............................................................... 77

Aquatix by LSI............................................................................................. 21

Landscape Structures Inc.................................................................... 4, 5

BCI Burke Playgrounds........................................................................9, 76

Massey Ferguson/AGCO Corp................................................................. 77

Bobcat Company.......................................................................................... 7

Mateflex........................................................................................................ 77

Bright Idea Shops, LLC. ............................................................................76

Milbank......................................................................................................... 29

Classic Recreation Systems................................................................... 19

Most Dependable Fountains ................................................................. C2

DOGIPOT.......................................................................................................... 11

Pilot Rock/RJ Thomas Mfg. Co. ..............................................................27

Easi-Set Buildings......................................................................................75

Polly Products.............................................................................................78

Fountain People/Water Odyssey........................................................... 15

Salsbury Industries.................................................................................... 11

GameTime/PlayCore.................................................................................. C4

Scoremaster Goals....................................................................................78

Gared Sports...............................................................................................76

Shade Systems..............................................................................................1

Goldenteak/The Wood Carver, Inc. .......................................................76

Sybertech Waste Reduction Ltd........................................................... 23

Greenfields Outdoor Fitness............................................................... 2, 3

Synthetic Surfaces Inc.............................................................................78

Gyms for Dogs/Livin the Dog Life.......................................................... 77

Willoughby Industries..............................................................................78

advertiser index

Amish Country Gazebos...........................................................................75

(ISSN 0031-2215) is published monthly by the National Recreation and Park Association, 22377 Belmont Ridge Rd., Ashburn, VA 20148, a service organization supported by membership dues and voluntary contributions. Copyright ©2019 by the National Recreation and Park Association. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed in signed articles are those of the writers and not necessarily those of NRPA. Issued to members at the annual subscription price of $30, included in dues. Subscription: $46 a year in the U.S.; $56 elsewhere. Single copy price: $7. Library rate: $58 a year in the U.S.; $68 elsewhere. Periodical postage paid at Ashburn, Virginia, and at additional mailing offices. Editorial and advertising offices at 22377 Belmont Ridge Rd., Ashburn, VA 20148. 703.858.0784. Postmaster, send address changes to Parks & Recreation, 22377 Belmont Ridge Rd., Ashburn, VA 20148.

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Park Bench

IMAGES COURTESY OF SIMON OSWALD ARCHITECTURE

Columbia’s Agriculture Park Columbia (Missouri) Parks & Recreation, in a public-private partnership with Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture (CCUA), Columbia Farmers Market and Sustainable Farms and Communities, recently celebrated the grand opening of Phase I of Columbia’s Agriculture Park. This new park is located on 10 acres of open space at the city’s Clary-Shy Community Park and will serve as a community hub, education center and home to a covered, yearround farmers market, as well as complement the existing Activity and Recreation Center (ARC). While health through exercise is the focus of the nearby ARC, health through food will be the focus of the Agriculture Park. Community members will learn to grow and prepare healthy, locally sourced foods from the year-round farmers market, a greenhouse and through cooking and gardening classes that will be offered. Other benefits of the new park include supporting local agriculture-based businesses and creating a space for Columbians to spend time outside, connecting with their community. The city of Columbia owns the Agriculture Park, but it will be maintained by Columbia Parks & Recreation, and the other partner organizations will contribute to its long-term oversight and sustainability. CCUA will manage the gardens and educational programs, and through its “Access to Healthy Food” program, Sustainable Farms and Communities will match the food purchases of families who shop with SNAP and WIC at the farmers market. The fully funded first phase of the project, expected to be completed by the end of 2019, includes stormwater infrastructure, demonstration gardens, playgrounds, picnic areas, a nature classroom education center and urban farm plots. The estimated 50,000 pounds per year of produce grown on the urban farm will be donated to the local food pantry. Phase II, scheduled to be constructed throughout 2020–2022 once the funding is secured, includes the completion of the market pavilion (which will triple its current size), a 10,000-square-foot event center and additional parking. Phase I cost approximately $3.75 million and was funded largely by private investors, with only a quarter of the funding provided by the city and a federal grant. The completed project (www.youtube. com/watch?v=tgsQn99RFz0) is expected to cost $7.5 million. To learn more about Columbia’s Agriculture Park, visit https://buildthistown.org. – Lindsay Collins, Associate Editor for Parks & Recreation magazine

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PARKS & RECREATION AUGUST 2019  ◆  KRISTINE STRATTON: NRPA’S NEW PRESIDENT & CEO  ◆  THE RURAL CONNECTION  ◆  NRPA CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS

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Parks & Recreation Magazine - August 2019  

Parks & Recreation Magazine - August 2019  

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