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Open Space Radio: Parks and Recreation Trends
26 minutes | 9 days ago
Coffee Talk Replay: Preparing for the Impacts of Climate Change — Episode 090
On today’s episode of Open Space Radio, we’re re-releasing one of our Coffee Talks from last year’s NRPA Virtual, where we discussed the importance of park and recreation professionals being prepared for disasters due to a changing climate. We were joined by Kenny Weigandt from Willamalane Park and Recreation District in Oregon and John DiSpaldo, a regional preparedness liaison for FEMA to talk specifically about the wildfires that were impacting much of the western part of the country last year. We chose to release this episode today because it aligns well with a new tool NRPA just released. We know there is an increase in the number of climate events we see each year — like wildfires, hurricanes, extreme wind events and more — and that increase is directly related to the impacts of climate change. We also know park and recreation professionals, as managers of a large percentage of our public lands, play a critical role in climate mitigation strategies. One of these solutions is a new tool called Climate.Park.Change., which was created by the design firm Sasaki in partnership with NRPA. This toolkit compiles data on how climate change is affecting park and recreation spaces and offers physical design and community engagement solutions to address climate impacts. The tool currently covers 10 intermountain west states, but the strategies can be applied throughout much of the country. We encourage you to check out this tool after listening to our Coffee Talk. Tune in below to learn how climate change is impacting the work of park and recreation professionals in the western part of the country, as well as: How the Willamalane Park and Recreation District responded to the wildfires in September 2020. How park and recreation professionals play a role in disaster recovery efforts. How FEMA works with local governments and park and recreation agencies in responding to and recovering from disasters. Why it’s critical for park and recreation professionals to be prepared for disasters that take place due to a changing climate. How the wildfires made Willamalane Park and Recreation District re-evaluate their disaster preparedness plans, and more! Other resources that may be of interest: New Toolkit to Assess Climate Threats and Park-Specific Strategies Addressing Issues at the Intersection of Climate and Health — Episode 089 Climate for Health Ambassadors Training
44 minutes | 23 days ago
Addressing Issues at the Intersection of Climate and Health — Episode 089
In celebration of April being Earth Month, and with Earth Day coming up on Thursday, we’re excited to be discussing a program focused on creating leaders for climate solutions. The program, Climate for Health, was founded by ecoAmerica and NRPA has partnered with them to bring the initiative to park and recreation professionals. Climate for Health is a national initiative that offers tools, resources and communications to demonstrate visible climate leadership, and inspires health leaders to advocate for climate solutions. The training program we’re collaborating on will elevate the essential role park and recreation professionals play in dismantling climate and health disparities in order to build resilient communities where everyone thrives. In this episode we welcome: Cheryl Salazar, CPRP, Recreation Supervisor II for City of San Marcos, California, and participant in the first Climate for Health Ambassadors Training Rebecca Rehr, director of Climate for Health at ecoAmerica, Jenny Cox, program manager for NRPA Tune in to the full episode below to learn what sparked Cheryl, Rebecca and Jenny’s passion for this work, as well as: Why the Climate for Health Ambassador Training is an important piece of addressing issues at the intersection of climate and health. How NRPA is committed to ensuring that park and recreation professionals are contributing to the overall resilience of their communities. How the Climate for Health Ambassador Training is valuable for park and recreation professionals at all levels of experience, and why you should sign up. Simple steps you can take today to reduce your climate impact, and more! Other resources/information discussed in this episode: Sign up for Climate for Health Ambassador Training On this website, we also have a suite of resources, including webinars, research and toolkits, for park and recreation professionals and partners to address inequitable climate-related health impacts through the power of parks and recreation. NRPA conservation tools, resources and initiatives EcoAmerica: MomentUs EcoAmerica: Research Climate for Health blog Cheryl's blog post, "Supporting Youth-Led Climate Action in San Marcos, California Mental Health and Our Changing Climate Let's Talk Health & Climate
21 minutes | a month ago
Equity-Centered Planning Is About More Than Just Metrics — May Bonus Episode
The May issue of Parks & Recreation magazine is out now, and on today’s bonus episode of the podcast, we’re diving deeper into one of this month’s feature stories, “From Plans to Parks.” In this article, Clement Lau details how the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation is implementing equity-focused park and recreation plans to ensure that communities with the highest need for parks are prioritized. Clement Lau, AICP, is a departmental facilities planner for the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and a wealth of knowledge when it comes to park planning. He’s worked in the field for over two decades, and regularly contributes his expertise to Parks & Recreation magazine and the Open Space blog, so we’re excited to finally welcome him to the podcast to talk about how keeping equity at the center of park planning will ensure park and recreation professionals are able to serve every member of their community. Tune in below to learn about what sparked Clement’s passion for planning and why he wanted to pursue a career in the field, as well as: How the Los Angeles County DPR creates plans with equity and implementation in mind, ensuring that the plans prioritize communities with the greatest need. How the Los Angeles Countywide Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment’s 2016 findings were so compelling that the county board of supervisors decided to put a parks funding measure on the ballot, which passed with overwhelming support. How strategic community partnerships have helped Los Angeles County DPR’s efforts to address the needs of six communities with the highest need for parks in Los Angeles County. How Earvin “Magic” Johnson Park is “an oasis in a region lacking green space.” Why the stories and experiences that take place in our parks and community spaces are more important than always focusing on data and metrics, and more!
12 minutes | a month ago
What Inclusion and Accessibility Means to a Special Olympian — Episode 088
Today’s episode is airing on April 6, National Student-Athlete Day. While today’s guest is no longer a student, she has been an athlete for Special Olympics Minnesota for 19 years. Abby Hirsch, who was born with Down syndrome, competes in various sports, including basketball, bocce ball, bowling, downhill skiing, poly hockey, powerlifting, SOfit, swimming, and track and field. In addition to being a talented athlete, Abby’s list of accomplishments goes well beyond sports. She was a commencement speaker at a high school graduation, spoke on Capitol Hill, has emceed galas, has received numerous awards and is an active volunteer, coach and health and wellness ambassador. Most recently, Abby even lent NRPA her voiceover talents for a video we’re producing on accessibility in parks and recreation. And did we mention she works Monday through Friday at Walgreens? To say she has an impressive resume is an understatement, and that’s why we’re thrilled to have her join us on the show today to talk about accessibility and inclusion in parks and recreation. Tune in to the full episode below to learn more about Abby’s story and what accessibility and inclusion mean to her, as well as: How she got involved in Special Olympics and why she continues to play today. How the COVID-19 pandemic affected her as an athlete and health and wellness ambassador. What her favorite local parks mean to her. Why she feels parks and recreation is important for all people, but especially those with disabilities. How park and recreation professionals can make sure their spaces are welcoming and inclusive for all people, and more!
26 minutes | 2 months ago
From Experiencing Homelessness to Becoming a Community Leader — Episode 087
A few months ago, we came across a post on LinkedIn that really pulled at our heartstrings and demonstrated how resilient a person can be when they have their mind set on a goal. The post chronicled the journey of one individual who went from experiencing homelessness to becoming the director of a park and recreation agency and a leader in his community, and we knew we wanted to connect with him to learn more about his story of adversity, resilience and how parks and recreation saved his life. Today we are thrilled to be joined by Dr. Samose Mays, the director of Bryan County Parks and Recreation in Georgia as well as the Georgia Recreation and Park Association district two commissioner. Dr. Mays is also a Certified Park and Recreation Professional, an Aquatic Facility Operator, a Certified Youth Sports Administrator, as well as a professor at Georgia Southern University. On top of all that, he is leading efforts to increase diverse representation within the park and recreation profession through the Minority Recreational Leadership Academy. But, it wasn’t an easy road for Dr. Mays to get to where he is today, and we’re so grateful he joined us to tell us more about his journey. Tune in to the full episode below to learn more about Dr. Mays’ journey and how he responded to adversity in order to pursue his dream of a career in parks and recreation, as well as: What challenges he overcame while pursuing his goal. How the resources at his local library and rec center helped him pursue his doctorate degree while he was experiencing homelessness. How his lived experiences have helped him to identify and fill any potential gaps in the programming his agency provides. How the Minority Recreational Leadership Academy is increasing diverse representation in the profession. What being a professor at the same university he dropped out of twice means to him and what values he shares with his students. How his story can serve as a valuable tool to break down the stigma associated with people experiencing homelessness, as well as other challenges people may face, and more!
55 minutes | 2 months ago
The Importance of Amplifying Contemporary Indigenous Voices — April Bonus Episode
The April issue of Parks & Recreation magazine is out now, and on today’s bonus episode of the podcast, we’re diving deeper into one of this month’s cover stories, “Protecting the Land and Its History.” If you tuned in to last month’s bonus episode, then you’re probably just as excited as we are for tomorrow’s TEDxCollegePark event, “An Equal Future.” On today’s episode, we’re thrilled to be joined by one of the event speakers, as well as an individual who is doing vital work with Indigenous communities on-the-ground in Wisconsin, to discuss the importance of working with Indigenous communities in building “An Equal Future.” Today, we’re welcoming Sara Sinclair, an oral historian of Cree-Ojibwa and German-Jewish ancestry, Columbia University professor and editor of How We Go Home: Voices from Indigenous North America, which is a book of first-person stories in the long and ongoing fight to protect the land, rights and life of Indigenous people in North America. Sara will be speaking on Friday, March 19 during “An Equal Future,” and we can’t wait for her presentation. We’re also excited to welcome Stephanie Lozano, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation tribe — a federally recognized tribe with traditional territory across Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri — and tribal liaison for the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, which works with the eleven federally recognized tribes located within Wisconsin to provide child welfare, support for families and other critical services. Tune in to our conversation below to learn more about Sara and Stephanie and the importance of amplifying contemporary Indigenous voices to help change the narrative for future generations, as well as: What real equity looks like from each of their perspectives and lived experiences. The role of climate resiliency in discussing Indigenous people. The history of Ho-Chunk Nation and the tribe’s participation in advocacy efforts. How activism plays a role in addressing the needs of tribal communities. What Deb Haaland’s confirmation as Secretary of the Department of the Interior will mean for the future of tribal consultation and where priorities lie. How baking a cake can be used as a good metaphor for explaining equity, and more! Other resources discussed in this episode: “An Equal Future” from TEDxCollegePark Voice of Witness Illuminative
42 minutes | 2 months ago
One Year Later: COVID-19 and Parks and Recreation — Episode 086
When this episode airs on March 9, 2021, we will be two days away from the one-year anniversary of coronavirus (COVID-19) being declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. The past year has been filled with challenges, adaptations, pivots and so much more. We’re battling multiple health crises on top of economic pressures and racial injustices. And through it all, park and recreation professionals have come together in service of their communities, including taking on new roles and providing essential pandemic response services, while also continuing to deliver their already-life saving services and programs. The work hasn’t been easy, and we know professionals are facing their own mental health issues while they continue to support equity, resiliency and health efforts for the people they serve. To chat about what the past year has meant to park and recreation professionals and to discuss where we go from here, we are thrilled to welcome Jesús Aguirre, NRPA Board Member and superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation. Jesús joined us almost exactly a year ago as we explored what effects COVID-19 was already having in parts of the country like Seattle as well as what we thought the year would bring. Also joining us is Allison Colman, NRPA’s Director of Health, who has led much of the COVID-19 response and content creation for NRPA. Tune in to the full episode below to learn about the impact COVID-19 has had on parks and recreation from Jesús and Allison’s perspectives, as well as: Some of the main challenges that park and recreation professionals have faced during the pandemic and how they’re trying to address them. How COVID-19 has uncovered the disparities in our society, as well as in parks and recreation, and what kinds of guidance has been provided to reduce these disparities. What kinds of opportunities have arisen due to the pandemic that could change the future of parks and recreation. The stories of resilience that have stuck out to Jesús and Allison over the past year. How the upcoming COVID-19 and Parks and Recreation: Response and Recovery report, along with the corresponding communications toolkit, COVID-19 and Parks and Recreation: Making the Case for the Future, will assist in educating decision-makers about the essential nature of parks and recreation, and more! For more information about NRPA’s response to COVID-19, as well as available resources for park and recreation professionals, please see our Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) webpage.
48 minutes | 3 months ago
Creating a Space for Women in Parks and Recreation — Episode 085
Women’s History Month starts next month, and we thought it would be a good time to tackle a topic that has been on our episode wish list for a while now — women in parks and recreation. Parks and recreation, like many professions, was once a male-dominated industry. Now, however, those figures seem like they may be shifting. When thinking about who to bring on the podcast to talk about women in the field of parks and recreation, there seemed to be an obvious choice. Today we are welcoming three park and recreation professionals who wanted to create a community for women in the field to come together and share their ideas, struggles and triumphs — something that has become even more important throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Joining us are Lakita Watson, NRPA board member and executive director of the Richland County Recreation Commission (South Carolina); Katy Keller, Recreation Program Coordinator for Indian Trail Parks and Recreation (North Carolina); and Melanie White, Business Development and Retention Manager at Town of Leesburg (Virginia). Tune in to the full episode below as we discuss their experiences as well as the inspiration behind the Facebook group they created, which now has more than 8,000 members — made up entirely of women in parks and recreation — as well as: Why they feel it’s important for women to have their own space to collaborate on ideas related to our field. Some of the ways they are sharing the “mental load” of invisible work that women take on in their personal and professional lives. What their experiences have been working through a pandemic and what challenges have been unique to women. What advice they would give young women in the field of parks and recreation. Some of their favorite stories and ideas that have come from the Women in Parks and Recreation Facebook group, and more!
49 minutes | 3 months ago
Building ‘An Equal Future’ with TEDxCollegePark — March Bonus Episode
The March issue of Parks & Recreation magazine is out now, and on today’s bonus episode of the podcast, we’re diving deeper into the feature story, “Ensuring ‘An Equal Future’ for All,” which introduces a new TEDxCollegePark virtual event that park and recreation professionals won’t want to miss. Many of us have seen a TED talk on one topic or another, and they have become a powerful way to use storytelling to provide a deeper understanding of an issue. TEDx events are independently organized TED events, and we’re excited to speak with two of our favorite guests of the podcast about their roles in TEDxCollegePark’s ‘An Equal Future’ coming up on March 19. On today’s episode, we are thrilled to be joined by the author of this month’s feature story, Neelay Bhatt, who is the vice president and principal of PROS Consulting and curator for TEDxCollegePark. We’re also equally thrilled to be joined by Roslyn Johnson, director of Baltimore County Recreation and Parks. Roslyn is the co-organizer for ‘An Equal Future,’ and during this conversation we learn more about this highly inspirational and educational event. Tune in to the full episode below to learn more about TEDxCollegePark’s ‘An Equal Future’ and why it is going to be such a valuable experience for park and recreation professionals, as well as: What the theme ‘An Equal Future’ means Who the inspirational presenters are that will be bringing this event to life Why it was important to have park and recreation professionals involved behind-the-scenes How they made this event as inclusive as possible by making it free to attend and available in multiple languages How the COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges, as well as opportunities What Neelay and Roslyn are personally looking forward to most, and more! To learn more and register for ‘An Equal Future,’ taking place on March 19, visit TEDxCollegePark.com. Be sure to follow TEDxCollegePark on social media to stay up-to-date and learn more about the presenters: Facebook Instagram Twitter TikTok
56 minutes | 3 months ago
Creating Opportunities for Underserved Youth in Louisville — Episode 084
As we’ve discussed before, the unfortunate reality about outdoor recreation is that not everyone has equitable access to these opportunities and there are people who don’t necessarily feel welcome or safe in certain spaces. And while we continue advocating for equity in parks and recreation, it’s important to recognize that there are many systemic barriers in place that need to be broken down if we want a future with truly equitable outcomes. We’re excited to be joined on the show today by three individuals who are doing their part to address inequities and systemic racism in the outdoor spaces in their city. Today we are welcoming staff members of the Jefferson Memorial Forest in Louisville, Kentucky, which is the largest municipal urban forest in the U.S., as well as a staff member of the Urban Conservation Corps (UCC) at YouthBuild Louisville. We’re thrilled to be joined by JoCari Beattie, a community outreach specialist at Jefferson Memorial Forest; Dashaune Jones, the ECHO Mobile program lead at Jefferson Memorial Forest; and Kenyetta Johnson, a program assistant and focus area coordinator for UCC at YouthBuild Louisville. These three have been working tirelessly to provide opportunities for underserved youth to experience the outdoors and much more. Tune in to the full episode below to learn more about JoCari, Dashaune and Kenyetta and the opportunities they’re creating for underserved youth in Louisville, as well as: What equity in parks and recreation and access to these opportunities means to each of them personally. How the ECHO Mobile program is meeting people where they are and bringing nature to youth who don’t have access to nature. How the ECHO Mobile program has been impacted by COVID-19 and how it has been adapted. How their work is addressing equity and systemic racism in the outdoor recreation space. How park and recreation professionals can champion and foster equity in their communities and increase access to these kinds of opportunities, and more! Additional Resources: Jefferson Memorial Forest website YouthBuild Louisville Parks & Recreation magazine article, “Reflecting on Systemic Racism in Conservation”
31 minutes | 4 months ago
Coffee Talk Replay: Park Equity and Racial Justice — Episode 083
As we continue to work on centering equity in all that we do, and as the fight for racial justice and equity in the United States continues, we wanted to revisit a conversation we had last year about what equity in parks and recreation really means for today’s episode of the podcast. We were fortunate to have each one of the individuals you’ll hear from today on previous episodes of the podcast, and if you joined us at the 2020 NRPA Annual Conference: A Virtual Experience (NRPA Virtual) last October, you may have already heard this conversation — however, it’s never a bad time for a refresher on how we can build healthier, more equitable communities, and with Black History Month coming up in February, we thought it was a good time to reflect on this conversation. On today’s episode, we’re replaying our Coffee Talk, “Park Equity and Racial Justice” from NRPA Virtual, with Glenn Harris, president of Race Forward and last year’s NRPA Virtual keynote speaker, and Autumn Saxton-Ross, NRPA’s vice president of education and chief equity officer. We’ve already had the privilege of talking with Glenn on our October 2020 Bonus Episode, “Why Conversations About Racial Equity Matter for Parks and Recreation,” and Autumn on episode 76, “How to Center Equity in All That We Do” — and for this Coffee Talk, we were thrilled for them to come together to have a very powerful, insightful conversation. Tune in below to hear Autumn and Glenn’s full conversation from their Coffee Talk at NRPA Virtual and learn: What equity in parks and recreation looks like in practice. How park and recreation professionals can work towards meaningful change in forming a more just and equitable world. How we can take an objective look at the history of our parks and open spaces and apply that to creating a more equitable future. How a park and recreation department can create a framework like Race Forward’s that supports implementing racial equity. How park and recreation professionals can ensure racial equity is addressed in their agency’s master plans, and more!
23 minutes | 4 months ago
Celebrating Parks and Recreation’s Inaugural 30 Under 30 — February Bonus Episode
The February issue of Parks & Recreation magazine is out now, and on today’s episode, we’re diving deeper into this month’s cover story, “30 Under 30 for 2021.” We know from our work at NRPA that there are a lot of talented, passionate young professionals in the field of parks and recreation. These individuals truly serve as everyday superheroes in their communities and are continuing to make impacts that are not only felt on a local level, but are absolutely worthy of every bit of recognition on a national level, as well. We’re so excited to talk with our guests today to learn more about how we’re lifting these young professionals up and sharing the good work they do. The NRPA Young Professional Network, or YPN, and Parks & Recreation magazine recently teamed up to launch the first-ever “30 Under 30” recognition program to honor 30 of the top young park and recreation professionals in the country. With a diverse group of nominees from 29 different states, one Canadian province and one U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, we’re going to assume that the selection process wasn’t easy. But, we’re thrilled to be joined by two people on the show today who worked to get this program moving. Today we’re speaking with Michael Biedenstein, CPRP, AFO, a park program services division manager for St. Louis County Parks in Missouri and past chair of the NRPA YPN who, along with other leaders from the YPN, brought this great idea to NRPA. We’re also joined by Hayley Herzing, NRPA’s senior manager of membership, to learn about how NRPA has supported this program on a national level. Tune in below to learn about the role that Michael and Hayley played in bringing the “30 Under 30” idea to life, as well as: What — or, more appropriately, who — inspired the 30 Under 30 recognition program. What qualities the selection committee was looking for when selecting the 30 individuals out of more than 100 nominations. Why Michael and Hayley feel it’s important for parks and recreation as a profession to highlight and elevate young professionals. What stories from this impressive group of young professionals have stood out to each of them. How these young professionals’ stories make Michael and Hayley feel about the future of parks and recreation, and more!
23 minutes | 4 months ago
How a Group of Teens Is Bringing a Skatepark To Their Community — Episode 082
It is our first Open Space Radio episode of 2021, and we’re so excited for another year of great conversations on the podcast. To start the year, we’re thrilled to be talking with a group of inspiring teenagers from Lunenburg, Massachusetts, who decided to take a middle school project and turn it into something way bigger that would provide them, and others, a safe space to participate in their favorite activity — skateboarding. They realized that access to public recreational spaces was critical, and decided to take matters into their own hands to create a safe, legal place to skateboard through the Lunenburg Skatepark Project. Our guests today, Mason Whitcomb, Aidan Moore and Griffin Caiozzo, along with their other teammates Aidan Swift and Chris Roy, noticed there weren’t any safe, legal places to skateboard in their community, and started a grassroots movement to build a permanent, concrete, public skate/BMX/scooter activity park on land donated by their town. Through a common interest in skateboarding and their school’s sponsored Genius Hour program — a movement that allows students to explore their own passions and encourages creativity in the classroom — they were able to come up with the plan for Lunenburg Skatepark, which is soon becoming a reality due to their persistence, creative problem solving, community engagement and innovative fundraising efforts. Tune in to the full episode below to learn why physical activity through skateboarding is so important to Aidan, Griffin and Mason, and what life lessons they’ve learned throughout this process, as well as: How they came up with the idea for Lunenburg Skatepark. What their initial planning process looked like. What kinds of fundraising activities were the most successful. How they have engaged the community with the project. What advice they would give park and recreation professionals who are thinking about a project like this for a community space. What’s next for Lunenburg Skatepark, and more! To learn more about Lunenburg Skatepark, stay updated on progress, spread the word or make a donation, visit: Lunenburg Skatepark Official Website Lunenburg Skatepark on Facebook Lunenburg Skatepark on Instagram
27 minutes | 4 months ago
2020 Reflections and Looking Ahead to 2021 — Episode 081
It’s hard to believe 2020 is almost over. This year has been challenging in so many ways, and on our final episode of the year, we’re looking back at some of the conversations we’ve had, discussing the lessons we’ve learned, and looking ahead at some of our hopes and goals for 2021. This year, park and recreation professionals have been on the frontlines of a global pandemic, economic collapse, racial justice movement, climate disasters and more, and we are so grateful to play a small part in helping tell the stories of their truly impactful work: From serving meals to hosting COVID-19 testing sites and staging sites for first responders. From setting up temporary housing for those experiencing homelessness to helping those struggling with mental health and substance use issues. From performing wellness checks on older adults to providing innovative ways for our youth to connect with their friends. From having difficult conversations about institutionalized racism and historic inequities in our public spaces to committing to anti-racist practices, and so much more. Park and recreation professionals have truly done it all this year, and our communities are so much better because of their essential work. So, to all of our park and recreation professionals out there: THANK YOU! We’ve always known you were heroes, but this year just solidified that. We also want to thank everyone who has joined us on the show as a guest, subscribed to the podcast, listened to an episode, sent us your ideas, connected with us on Instagram or simply spread the word about Open Space Radio to your friends and colleagues. We truly love producing this podcast for you, and it’s through your support that we are able to do so! Tune in to the full episode below to hear us discuss: Why we decided to add 12 new episodes to our schedule in 2020. What events impacted the types of conversations we had this year. How hearing our guests’ experiences impacted each of our own personal journeys. The pros and cons of producing a podcast during COVID-19. How we’ve learned to be adaptable and the importance of being gentle with ourselves. Where we currently sit with the resolutions we set at the end of 2019 for 2020, our hopes and goals for 2021, and more! And special thanks to those of you who sent us your ideas for future episodes – we love your ideas and can’t wait to explore them in 2021!
32 minutes | 5 months ago
Emerging Trends in Parks and Recreation — January Bonus Episode
The January 2021 issue of Parks & Recreation magazine is out now, and this month’s issue features the highly anticipated cover story, “Top Trends in Parks and Recreation 2021,” by Rich Dolesh, NRPA’s retired vice president of strategic initiatives and Parks & Recreation magazine’s editor at large. On today’s bonus episode of the podcast, we’re replaying the full session of our “Emerging Trends in Parks and Recreation” Coffee Talk from the 2020 NRPA Annual Conference: A Virtual Experience (NRPA Virtual) this past October. In this session, we had the opportunity to sit down with Rich, as well as Greg Weitzel, an NRPA board member and director of the Las Vegas Department of Parks and Recreation, and Brendan Daley, director of strategy and sustainability at the Chicago Park District, to talk about some of the trends park and recreation professionals will be seeing in near future — and some that we’re already seeing come to fruition. Tune in below to hear our full Coffee Talk with Rich, Greg and Brendan to learn: How the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has accelerated trends that they have seen occurring or that they predict will take place. What technology changes will increasingly influence parks and recreation, and why will they happen. How climate change is having a greater impact on parks and recreation every year and what the greatest impacts are, as well as what is causing them to accelerate. What new trends they see over the horizon and how will they affect parks and recreation in the future, and more!
33 minutes | 5 months ago
How Farmers Markets Benefit the Whole Community — Episode 80
Over the past decade, there has been steady growth across the farmers market industry nationwide, with new farmers market locations popping up in communities of all shapes and sizes. And, many park and recreation professionals have seen this growth firsthand. With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic increasing barriers for access to healthy food for so many across the country, park and recreation professionals have been working hard to find ways to meet these needs. One way to meet the needs of a community has been through farmers markets. And, whether an agency is hosting their own or partnering with a local market, farmers markets provide countless benefits. The Farmers Market Coalition is a nonprofit dedicated to strengthening farmers markets across the United States so that they can serve as community assets while providing real income opportunities for farmers. The Farmers Market Coalition aims to benefit farmers, consumers and the community as a whole, and we’re thrilled to be joined on the show today by their Training and Technical Assistance Director Darlene Wolnik, to talk all about the great work they’re doing in building healthier communities through farmers markets. Darlene has been a national advocate and trainer for farmers markets for more than two decades. We’re also excited to be joined by Maureen Neumann, an NRPA program manager, to talk about NRPA’s work with the Farmers Market Coalition and how we’re assisting park and recreation professionals in this work. Tune in to the full episode below to learn how the Farmers Market Coalition is helping farmers earn fair prices for the fruits of their labor, increasing access to fresh, local produce for consumers, and helping communities regain a figurative “town square,” as well as: How the Farmers Market Coalition is supporting local farmers markets on the ground so they can meet the needs of their communities. The type of guidance the Farmers Market Coalition has been providing local farmers markets throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to safely manage these spaces. How farmers markets and parks and recreation are aligned in their missions. How park and recreation professionals who work for an agency that may not have a farmers market can leverage partnerships to start one or assist with an existing local market. How working with the Farmers Market Coalition has helped NRPA advance our strategic goals, and more!
29 minutes | 5 months ago
How Every Kid Outdoors is Increasing Access to Parks — Episode 079
We have waxed poetic over the past several months about how critical it has been to get outdoors throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and parks have proven to be the destination of choice for many people to get their necessary physical activity, recharge their mental health batteries and find a sense of community. And, with school systems adapting to the pandemic and distance learning being more prevalent, there’s an increasing need for our youth to have opportunities to engage with nature — and one program that has been assisting in providing outdoor access to our youth is Every Kid Outdoors. Every Kid Outdoors allows fourth graders in the U.S. and their family members free access to over 2,000 federal lands and waters, which creates important connections and inspires a future generation of stewards for national parks and other public lands. We’re thrilled to be joined on today’s episode by a previous colleague of ours, Jayni Rasmussen, to talk about the future of this program and how it’s been impacted by COVID-19. Jayni is the senior campaign representative for the Outdoors Alliance for Kids and Youth, or OAK, which is a national strategic partnership of organizations from diverse sectors with a common interest in connecting children, youth and families with the outdoors. Tune in below to learn more about Jayni’s work with OAK and the benefits of the Every Kid Outdoors program, as well as: How this program increases equitable access to the outdoors. How this program has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. How OAK’s Every Kid Outdoors in State Parks campaign aims to extend the pass program to all state and regional park systems with entrance fees and expand access to close-to-home parks. How local park and recreation professionals can partner with federal agencies on Every Kid Outdoors and take advantage of resources. Why the U.S. Department of the Interior extended the 2019-2020 Every Kid Outdoors pass program through the 2020-2021 school year to help families that couldn’t use their passes due to COVID-19. How OAK’s work on Every Kid Outdoors has been pivoting during the pandemic to support park budgets, and more!
42 minutes | 6 months ago
How Biodiversity Creates Healthy Communities – December Bonus Episode
The December issue of Parks & Recreation magazine is out now, and on today’s bonus episode of the podcast, we’re going to be diving deeper into one of this month’s feature stories, titled, “Biodiversity Lays the Pathway to Good Health.” The article explores how the COVID-19 pandemic could become the tipping point for connecting biodiversity with human health, and we’re thrilled to be joined by the author of the article and one of her colleagues to talk a little bit more about it. Joining us on today’s episode are LaDonna Baertlein, the director of business development for Dig Studio, and Laurel Raines, a senior principal for Dig Studio — a company focused on landscape architecture, urban design and planning. We know the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the way we think about and use public spaces, but biodiverse landscapes are lesser-discussed aspects of healthy communities. We had the opportunity to chat with LaDonna and Laurel about what biodiversity is and why it’s so important in creating healthy communities, as well as what park and recreation professionals can do to increase biodiversity in the spaces their agencies manage. Tune in to the full episode below to learn: How park and recreation professionals can incorporate ecologically supportive landscapes into their existing park systems. Why community engagement is critical for designing biodiverse landscapes, and who the key stakeholders are. How location and regional climate can pose challenges to planning for biodiversity. How investing in biodiversity in communities contributes to more equitable outcomes. Why a public space should meet the specific needs of the community. What the world looks like when we align the lens of public health and equity with biodiversity, and more!
32 minutes | 6 months ago
Community Healing in the Wake of Trauma — Episode 078
If you attended the 2020 NRPA Annual Conference: A Virtual Experience (NRPA Virtual), you may have joined us for the Coffee Talk sessions that we hosted at the beginning and end of each day, when we had the opportunity to chat with park and recreation professionals, thought leaders, subject matter experts and NRPA staff about some of the most pressing issues that are impacting your work. While each of these Coffee Talk sessions was inspiring and thought-provoking, we recognize that not everyone was able to attend NRPA Virtual and benefit from them. So, we’ll be releasing a few of them as Open Space Radio episodes, and we’re excited to share the first one with you on today’s episode! For this Coffee Talk — the very first session of NRPA Virtual — we were honored to be joined by NRPA Director of Health Allison Colman, as well as Mercy Santoro, the deputy director of Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, to chat about community healing in the wake of trauma. This year, unfortunately, has been full of traumatic experiences for so many, and in this session (and now this episode) we unpacked some of those traumas, as well as discussed how we can support and care for those experiencing trauma. Tune in to the full episode to learn more about how park and recreation professionals have been — and can continue — supporting the mental health and well-being of the people in the communities they serve, as well as: Why trauma is one of the emerging areas that park and recreation professionals are more intentionally addressing. Why it’s so important for park and recreation professionals to play a role in addressing how trauma impacts their communities. How park and recreation professionals can assist in meeting the challenges associated with addressing trauma. What resources are available to support critical work related to trauma. How research on trauma-informed care can benefit park and recreation professionals who are on the front lines of issues related to trauma, and more!
28 minutes | 6 months ago
How to Make Your Voice Heard on Election Day and Beyond — Episode 077
Today is November 3, 2020 – an important day for our country, our democracy, our values and our future. Today is Election Day! On this day — and over the last few weeks — millions of Americans will head to the polls to make their voices heard. And whether you mailed in your ballot, voted early or are still undecided as you listen to this episode, we know that our guests today are going to provide sage wisdom on all things elections, voting and why it’s important to advocate at the federal, state and local level. We’re thrilled to be joined today by NRPA’s Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy Elvis Cordova and NRPA’s Senior Government Affairs Manager Kyle Simpson, to talk about some of NRPA’s key legislative priorities, how you can get involved in our advocacy efforts, and you guessed it — the importance of voting! Tune in to the full episode below as Elvis and Kyle discuss NRPA’s public policy and advocacy team’s role in the organization and how they can assist in your agency’s advocacy efforts, as well as: Why park and recreation professionals in many states should pay extra close attention to their ballots today. Why, even though national elections are important, it is critical to get involved in elections at the state and local level What legislative priorities NRPA will be communicating to the new members of the U.S. Congress in a few months. How you can be a more involved advocate of parks and recreation. How you can get all the election information you need for your state by texting VOTE4PARKS to 52286 (which will also keep you up to date on any legislative action items from NRPA), and more! To learn more about federal policy and legislative issues impacting parks and recreation, visit NRPA’s advocacy webpage or email Elvis and Kyle at firstname.lastname@example.org
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