Call for Conference Proposals

The NRPA Annual Conference brings together thousands of people across several different fields including parks and recreation, conservation, health, landscape architecture and city planning. We aim to fulfill the needs of our diverse audience by providing a range of topical and engaging education sessions presented by top leaders in their professions. We are looking for speakers who can resonate with our attendees’ passion for parks and recreation and inspire even greater impact in communities nationwide.  

The 2024 NRPA Annual Conference will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, October 8-10, 2024. The theme is "Where You Belong."

The submission process for the 2024 conference will run from October 23, 2023 to December 17, 2023.

Session Formats

Education Sessions:

  • 1-Hour Education Sessions* - Either individual lectures or up to four-person panel discussions that deliver a selection of relevant and timely topics. 
  • 20-Minute Speed Sessions - Short, individual lectures designed to engage and inspire, covering a variety of park and recreation trends. All Speed Sessions are both pre-recorded AND presented on-site.

NRS/Research Sessions: 
All NRS session types consist of translational research and scholarship, data-based research, completed studies, and/or scholarly/conceptual discussions. NRPA Research Session proposals are required to submit an abstract along with their submission and will undergo a separate cycle of peer review by the NRS Committee Leaders.

Types of research sessions include:

  • 1-Hour Research Talks*
  • 30-Minute Research Talks
  • Poster Presentations

*All 1-hour education and 1-hour research proposals will be asked if they are interested in pre-recording their session as a part of virtual conference, in addition to giving the session live at conference. Virtual conference session slots are limited, and accepted sessions who are willing to participate as a part of virtual conference may still be accepted as in-person only. Sessions accepted to be a part of virtual conference will be notified in the spring of 2024.

Who Should Consider Submitting Proposals?  
  • Park and recreation professionals, educators, and students. Current students and college instructors are encouraged to submit their research projects as Research sessions and/or poster presentations.
  • Park and recreation vendors, contractors, and related groups 
  • Speakers and educators aligned with NRPA's Three Pillars of Health and Wellness, Equity and Conservation 
  • Planners, landscape architects, public health administrators, city and county managers, naturalists 

Important Dates

Call for Education, Speed Session, and Research Session Proposals:  

  • Submission Site Opens: October 23, 2023 
  • Submission Site Closes: December 17, 2023, Midnight ET 
  • Session Acceptance/Decline Notifications: February-March 2024 
  • Speaker Roster Finalizations: March-April 2024 
  • Registration Opens: May 2024

2024 NRPA Annual Conference:  
October 8-10, 2024 
Atlanta, Georgia

How to Submit a Conference Proposal

New to the process of submitting a Conference proposal? Have questions about the system? Check out this short video! 

Resources for Successful Submissions

Call for Submissions on Specific Trends & Topics

Explore the specific trends and topics we’ve identified as priorities for Conference 2024 HERE.  

NRPA Conference Session Evaluation Rubric

View the rubric for reviewing submissions HERE.

Tips for Writing Successful Submissions

Download our tips for writing successful submissions HERE.  

Proposal Review Process

All education and speed session proposals are reviewed by the Conference Program Committee. NRPA Research Sessions will undergo their own process of peer-review by research scholars.  

Reviewers assess submissions using the following criteria:  

  • Originality: Sessions that demonstrate new, inspiring, and impactful ways of thinking and doing.  
  • Relevance: Sessions that are immediately useful, applicable, and resonant with  attendees 
  • Overall Quality: Sessions created and delivered by presenters that strive for clear communication, accurate content, and engaging learning. 
  • Diversity: NRPA defines diversity as “differences in racial and ethnic, socioeconomic, geographic, and academic/professional backgrounds; people with different opinions, backgrounds (degrees and social experience), religious beliefs, political beliefs, sexual orientations, heritage, mental or physical ability, learning style gender identity and life experience" (definition adapted from Racial Equity Tools). NRPA is composed of members that represent different races, ethnicities, gender identities, abilities, ages and backgrounds. Conference sessions must reflect this diversity in the pool of presenters delivering sessions.  
  • Inclusion: NRPA defines inclusion as “authentically bringing traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups into the processes, activities, and decisions/policy making in a way that shares power, recognizes and celebrates differences, ensure that people feel welcome and everyone has the equitable access to opportunities" (definition adapted from Racial Equity Tools). Sessions should address or be inclusive of multiple perspectives and how different needs can and should be addressed.   
Equity and Inclusion 

We commit to putting equity at the center of our work to support park and recreation professionals in their efforts to create fair and just park and recreation systems. In the proposal process, please identify where on this journey your target audience is in regard to diversity, equity and inclusion: beginner, intermediate, experienced. 

If you would like to submit a proposal for a session run in Spanish, please email 

Speaker Benefits

NRPA’s Annual Conference is a conference whose educational offerings are organized and delivered by dedicated professionals from the field and volunteers. Speakers receive a free education package with options to add additional conference items and events at a discount. The commitment to present a conference session is voluntary, and speakers and panelists on accepted sessions will not be compensated for their role at conference. 

All speakers on accepted sessions are required to register themselves for conference, per instructions provided by the NRPA Education team prior to the opening of registration in May. Registration rates vary by year, NRPA membership, and NRPA member type.

If a session proposal is accepted, any organizers and speakers/panelists on that session will be asked to agree to the speaker terms and conditions in order to be eligible to present at conference. All speakers/panelists for accepted sessions will have the opportunity to request financial assistance to attend Conference. The acceptance of a proposed session does not guarantee any additional financial assistance for session submitters, organizers, or speakers/panelists. Priority for additional financial and/or lodging support to attend conference is given to park and rec professionals and others working in or adjacent to the park and rec field. 

Commercial / Promotional Presentations 

Your presentation may NOT sell, raffle, or otherwise promote a product, service, or organization in which you have a financial interest. 

2023 Conference Speaker Workshop

Questions about what it's like to be a conference speaker? View the 2023 Conference Speaker Workshop to hear tips and tricks from the Conference Program Committee and the NRPA Education team!