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  • How Parks Can Take Action in State Wildlife Plans

    Contains 2 Component(s) Includes a Live Web Event on 10/26/2021 at 2:00 PM (EDT)

    Join this webinar to explore the profitable partnership between parks and wildlife agencies and to learn how you can participate in implementing your state’s Wildlife Action Plan with speakers from Texas Parks and Wildlife and the National Wildlife Federation. State wildlife agencies are increasingly looking for strong collaborative partnerships for wildlife conservation and increased engagement with broader audiences; partnerships with local and regional parks can be a win-win for both entities.

    Join this webinar to explore the profitable partnership between parks and wildlife agencies and to learn how you can participate in implementing your state’s Wildlife Action Plan with speakers from Texas Parks and Wildlife and the National Wildlife Federation. State wildlife agencies are increasingly looking for strong collaborative partnerships for wildlife conservation and increased engagement with broader audiences; partnerships with local and regional parks can be a win-win for both entities. 

    State wildlife agencies recognize that parks reach audiences that are underserved in their typical outreach and programs. Local and regional parks currently manage or desire to manage plant/animals. These at-risk species would benefit through sharing of monitoring and management expertise and resources.  Furthermore, state wildlife agencies are required to develop a state wildlife action plan with feedback from local partners so that the needs of the entire conservation community are met. This presentation will provide examples of collaboration between state and local entities, opportunities for growth for both parties, and potential opportunities for collaboration including funding.

    NRPA Education online learning content is accessible for 180 days from the date of your registration. The learning content is available for registration for one year from the date of origination.

    Naomi Edelson (she/her)

    Senior Director, Wildlife Partnerships

    National Wildlife Federation

    Naomi is an inspirational leader in the wildlife conservation community who is gifted at building movements of people inspired to action. She is respected for convening coalitions and motivating teams for success, as well as being an innovator in the field, creating new practical tools and expert guidance. As Senior Director for Wildlife Partnerships at National Wildlife Federation, she leads their partnerships with state wildlife agencies and other state based partners to secure greater funding to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered, including legislative, communications, grassroots and coalition building elements of the campaign.  On the federal side this includes the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act campaign (www.nwf.org/recoveringamericaswildlife). Naomi has also developed a toolkit for wildlife leaders on “Strengthening State Wildlife Agencies” (http://statewildlifetoolkit.nwf.org/) that includes securing state-level funding for wildlife with numerous tips, tools, and case studies. She also works with Gardening for Wildlife program (www.nwf.org/garden) to restore wildlife habitat where people live, work, learn, play and worship, including creation of the Native Plant Finder (www.nwf.org/nativeplantfinder) and Sacred Grounds, a program for faith communities.

    Before working with NWF, Naomi raised more than $1 billion U.S. dollars in new conservation funding through her work as the Teaming with Wildlife Director at the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. She initiated and directed all aspects of Teaming with Wildlife, a national grassroots coalition of more than 6,000 groups focused on securing federal funding for state-level wildlife conservation. 
    Naomi is a wildlife biologist with a M.S. from the University of Florida where she studied wading birds and wetlands, and a B.S. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  Naomi lives with her husband and 14-year-old son in Takoma Park, MD, just across the Washington D.C. line.  

    Richard Heilbrun (he/him)

    Urban Wildlife Program Leader

    Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

    Richard Heilbrun is the Conservation Outreach Program Leader for Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.  He is a wildlife biologist by training, and has worked throughout the state on projects that conserve wildlife, manage wildlife habitat, and help people connect with natural resources on a deeply personal level. He has worked with Bighorn sheep, ducks, Whooping Cranes, songbirds, raptors, quail, deer, dove, and bobcats.   

    Richard holds a Bachelors and Masters degree from Texas A&M University in wildlife ecology and has worked for Texas Parks & Wildlife Department since 2002. He is proud to have worked with landowners, urban residents, volunteers, conservation organizations, and the general public to advance stewardship of Texas’s natural resources.  He currently supervises the Urban Wildlife Technical Guidance Program, the Texas Nature Trackers Program, and the Texas Master Naturalist Program.  All of these programs aim to connect Texans with the outdoors, improve wildlife habitat throughout the state, and manage the state’s most sensitive wildlife populations.     

    Richard is a past-officer of the Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society, a graduate of the Natural Leaders Program, and a Rob & Bessie Welder Wildlife Foundation Fellow.  He is a Certified Wildlife Biologist®, and lives in San Antonio with his wife and daughter.   

    Ayanna Williams, MSW (she/her) (Moderator)

    Director of Community and Environmental Resilience

    National Recreation and Park Association

    Ayanna Williams comes to NRPA as a tested leader in place-based environmentally focused nonprofits. Most recently she was the Healthy Cities Director at The Nature Conservancy in Georgia, mobilizing public and private financial support, facilitating equity centered conversations, and sharing stories of impact with caring respect for all.  For more than a decade she served as the Director of Community Building with Park Pride.  Throughout her career she has cultivated a broad perspective and deep understanding of environmental resilience, building and maintaining relationships, while engaging in work that depends on diverse local partnerships and the support of national institutions. Ayanna possesses a unique combination of hands-on experience, knowledge fueled passion, and commitment to community.

    Ayanna has also worked with the United Way of Central Indiana, the University of Michigan's Ginsberg Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement, and Hands On Atlanta AmeriCorps. She holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan with a concentration in community organizing and social systems. Ayanna grew up in Michigan’s Manistee National Forest where she developed an appreciation for green spaces, gardening, and community. 

  • Equity in Practice: Feedback from the Field

    Contains 6 Component(s), Includes Credits

    We want to hear from you! Join NRPA’s education staff and Vice President of Education and Chief Equity Officer Autumn Saxton-Ross to learn more about the organization’s diversity, equity and inclusion resources and provide feedback on the engagement plan and learning opportunities that will be available for members.

    NRPA’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Parks and Recreation report highlights what work is being done, who is leading the work, and what support agencies need from NRPA with regards to diversity, equity and inclusion. Four themes emerged from the report’s survey — the need for targeted support for smaller agencies, the need for trusted resources, a desire to share and learn from what’s working, and a desire to build professionals’ skill and staff capacity for the work. A draft plan has been created in response, but we would like feedback from those of you in the field: What is missing? What do you see in your everyday work? What skills should we focus on? What are your needs?

    NRPA’s virtual focus groups invite participants to share insights, perspectives, and reflections on their experiences as park and recreation professionals. Focus group sessions are moderated to support a free flow of ideas that help shape the development and refinement of NRPA strategies, programs and objectives.


    NRPA Education online learning content is accessible for 180 days from the date of your registration. The learning content is available for registration for one year from the date of origination.

    ​Autumn Saxton-Ross, PhD (she/her/hers) (Moderator)

    Vice President of Education and Chief Equity Officer

    National Recreation and Park Association

    Autumn Saxton-Ross, PhD, developed a love of the outdoors first through her grandmother’s yard and then exploring city parks with her family in her hometown of Kansas City, Missouri.  Now a resident of Washington DC and mom of two, she is the VP for Education & Chief Equity Officer at the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA). 

    She started her career as an elementary school Health and PE teacher in DC Public Schools and after receiving graduate degrees in Health Education and Sociology, has worked in various positions that placed her at the intersections of health, equity and the outdoors.  Most recently, as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Director and Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Lead for NatureBridge, and prior to that she held positions as the Program Director for Place-based Initiatives at the National Collaborative for Health Equity, Program Specialist at DC Department of Health and (Health) Recreation Specialist at both Montgomery County and DC Departments of Recreation.

    Autumn is a connector- actively seeking out ways to build bridges between seemingly disparate people, opportunities and ideas.  And if you really want to see a sparkle in her eye, start a conversation on all things Marvel, Octavia Butler or Star Trek: The Next Generation.  

  • 2021 Premier Webinar Subscription

    Contains 10 Product(s)

    Subscribe to the 2021 Premier Webinar Series and be instantly registered for any premier discounted webinar that we offer for all of 2021 with continued access to the archived recordings and materials.

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    Subscribe to the 2021 Premier Webinar Series and be instantly registered for any premier discounted webinar that we offer for all of 2021 with continued access to the archived recordings and materials. NRPA's free Premier webinar series addresses timely and relevant topics within the park and recreation field. The webinars are free to our premier members. The Premier Webinar series occurs on the second Thursday of each month at 2:00 p.m. EST/EDT.


    2021 Schedule

    Environmental Maintenance: Global Impact and Your Agency*
    January 14, 2021
    Community Awareness: Elevating Parks and Recreation
    July 8, 2021   
    Building a Well-Defined Organizational Culture
    February 11, 2021
    The ADA Is Back! Was It Really Ever Gone?
    August 12, 2021 
    Intentionality in Aquatics — Dodge, Dip, Duck and Dodge*
    March 11, 2021
    Advancing Community Wellness Hubs Through Partnerships
    September 9, 2021
    How to Advocate for Your Agency and Federal Relief Funding
    April 8, 2021 
    Equity in Practice: Feedback from the Field*
    October 7, 2021
    Sports Facilities Into Eco-Friendly Community Spaces*
    May 13, 2021
    Research
    November 18, 2021
    Expect the Unexpected: FEMA’s Emergency Management Courses
    June 10, 2021
    Aquatics*
    December 9, 2021

    These sessions contain 0.1 CEU


  • Partnering to Deliver Successful Farmers Markets

    Contains 3 Component(s)

    Partnerships are key in ensuring successful farmers markets in your community. Explore the benefits and different models of parks and recreation and community partners to deliver strong, vibrant farmers markets.

    Park and recreation agencies are uniquely suited to host farmers markets, but they can’t always do it alone. This webinar will explore the benefits of partnering to deliver programs and services, different models that may fit your community needs, and strategies to ensure your agency and partners are mission aligned. Hear from local park and recreation agencies that have successfully partnered to deliver strong community farmers markets as well as leaders from the field on best practices for partnering.

    Learning Objectives:

    1. Understand the benefits and models of partnerships to support farmers markets.
    2. Learn the ways in which park and recreation professionals can engage local partners to support farmers markets.


    NRPA Education online learning content is accessible for 180 days from the date of your registration. The learning content is available for registration for one year from the date of origination.

    Darlene Wolnik (she/her)

    Training and Technical Assistance Director

    Farmers Market Coalition

    Darlene Wolnik is the Training and Technical Assistance Director of Farmers Market Coalition. Since 2011, Darlene has consulted for dozens of projects on market design, operations, data collection, and analysis. She has authored numerous reports on market currency, food awareness, measurement and more. Before that, she served a decade as the Deputy Director of NGO Market Umbrella in New Orleans.

    ​Kate Fitzgerald (she/her)

    Principal

    Fitzgerald-Canepa Consulting

    Kate Fitzgerald works on policy that links family farms with low-income consumers to achieve economic opportunity and better public health.  Based in Texas for 25 years, she now works in Washington, DC and concentrates on federal policy including SNAP produce incentive programs, connecting low-income shoppers with farmers’ markets, rural grocery store viability, and regional food supply chains.

    Marby Barker (she/her)

    Grant Administrator

    Town of Vivian, Louisiana

    Dr. Marby Barker is the grant administrator for the town of Vivian, Louisiana. Her primary work revolves around improving the quality of life for the citizens of Vivian and the surrounding areas through increasing access to health and wellness programs, as well as connecting citizens to available resources. 

    Maureen Neumann (she/her) (Moderator)

    Senior Program Manager

    National Recreation and Park Association

    Maureen Neumann is a Program Manager for the National Recreation and Park Association. As a part of the Health and Wellness team, she focuses on healthy out-of-school time programming and inclusive practices in parks and recreation. 

  • The ADA Is Back! Was It Really Ever Gone?

    Contains 3 Component(s)

    Join this webinar to learn how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is enforced and identify enforcement trends to better get ahead of the curve and apply mandates to your home agency operations.

    During the last several years, Washington, D.C. went through a phase of deregulation and a de-emphasis on civil rights protections, with one notable exception: the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This webinar reviews a June 2020 Settlement Agreement regarding playgrounds in an Iowa community, as well as a June 2021 Settlement Agreement regarding all the assets of a Texas city. We will not only highlight the remedial actions required, but also discuss how the disputes could have been avoided. Join this webinar to discuss the resources parks and recreation agencies need to keep compliant.

    Learning Objectives:

    1. Understand how the ADA is enforced and be able to identify enforcement trends.
    2. Identify the remediation required in both Settlement Agreements discussed.
    3. Apply the Settlement Agreement mandates to local agency operations.


    NRPA Education online learning content is accessible for 180 days from the date of your registration. The learning content is available for registration for one year from the date of origination.

    John McGovern (he/him)

    Partner, Principal in Charge

    The WT Group, LLC Accessibility Practice

    John N. McGovern (he/him/his) leads the Accessibility Practice at The WT Group, LLC.  His firm is the NRPA preferred provider of accessibility consulting.  A long-time member of NRPA, he worked in parks and recreation while earning his law degree.  Continuing his parks and recreation career, he then represented NRPA on the three federal advisory committees that created the parks and recreation content of the federal 2010 Standards for Accessible Design.  Since forming the Accessibility Practice in 2008, his firm has helped more than 440 counties, cities, states, and park districts meet the sometimes unclear requirements of the ADA.

    Hayley Herzing (she/her) (Moderator)

    Senior Manager of Membership

    National Recreation and Park Association

    Hayley Herzing is currently the Senior Manager of Membership for the National Recreation and Park Association. She has worked for NRPA for six years and previously worked at the National Community Pharmacists Association. Hayley received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications/Journalism from Shippensburg University. She enjoys spending time with her husband, son and dog.

  • Responsive Farmers Markets: Delivering on Community Needs

    Contains 3 Component(s)

    Community engagement is key in hosting a farmers market that is responsive and delivers on community wants and needs. Hear how park and recreation professionals have been successful in listening and tailoring markets to meet the needs of their communities.

    Parks and recreation facilities are uniquely suited to host farmers markets that meet the needs of their communities. As trusted members of the community, park and recreation professionals are well positioned to both listen to residents and implement responsive elements into these offerings. This webinar will explore the benefits of community engagement in market design, as well as success stories from park and recreation professionals who listened to the needs of their communities to ensure responsive farmers markets.

    Learning Objectives:

    1. Understand the importance of community-led development of farmers markets.
    2. Learn strategies for community engagement to solicit feedback and input.


    NRPA Education online learning content is accessible for 180 days from the date of your registration. The learning content is available for registration for one year from the date of origination.

    Darlene Wolnik (she/her)

    Training and Technical Assistance Director

    Farmers Market Coalition

    Darlene Wolnik is the Training and Technical Assistance Director of Farmers Market Coalition. Since 2011, Darlene has consulted for dozens of projects on market design, operations, data collection, and analysis. She has authored numerous reports on market currency, food awareness, measurement and more. Before that, she served a decade as the Deputy Director of NGO Market Umbrella in New Orleans.

    ​Kate Fitzgerald (she/her)

    Principal

    Fitzgerald-Canepa Consulting

    Kate Fitzgerald works on policy that links family farms with low-income consumers to achieve economic opportunity and better public health.  Based in Texas for 25 years, she now works in Washington, DC and concentrates on federal policy including SNAP produce incentive programs, connecting low-income shoppers with farmers’ markets, rural grocery store viability, and regional food supply chains.

    Shelly Strasser (she/her)

    Director

    West Allis-West Milwaukee Recreation and Community Services Department

    Shelly Strasser is the Director for the West Allis-West Milwaukee Recreation and Community Services Department located in the Milwaukee area in Wisconsin.  Their community has been affected by the Heroin and Opioid Crisis and has taken an active role in the community and with department staff, to implement strategies of support.  

    Maureen Neumann (she/her) (Moderator)

    Senior Program Manager

    National Recreation and Park Association

    Maureen Neumann is a Program Manager for the National Recreation and Park Association. As a part of the Health and Wellness team, she focuses on healthy out-of-school time programming and inclusive practices in parks and recreation. 

  • Community Awareness: Elevating Parks and Recreation

    Contains 3 Component(s)

    How can we turn the increased public appreciation of parks into focused public action that supports the park and recreation field? Join this webinar to learn how you can leverage the force of public support to maximize the critical role parks and recreation plays in your community.

    The secret is out: the park and recreation profession is essential to the well-being of communities everywhere. More and more, the public is realizing how park and recreation facilities tangibly reflect the quality of life in their communities. How can we turn this increased public appreciation of parks into focused public action in support of the park and recreation field? Now is the time to take part in this all-encompassing awareness campaign to achieve this goal. Participate in this webinar to learn how you can leverage the force of public support to maximize the critical role parks and recreation plays in your community.

    Join NRPA’s Elvis Cordova, vice president of public policy and advocacy, and Gina Cohen, vice president of communications/chief marketing officer, with special guests on July 8 at 2 p.m. EDT for a discussion on capturing and advancing public investment for parks and recreation.


    Topics will include:

    • How to leverage your department’s pandemic response in a post-pandemic world.
    • What advocacy strategies and tactics will advance the cause.
    • Why incorporating diversity and inclusion programs into your messaging will grow support and sustain your efforts.
    • How to use broadcast, print and social media to establish and promote the essential need of parks and recreation. 

     

    Learning Objectives:

    1. Learn how to work with media to best deliver your message and expand your brand.
    2. Learn how to write an effective “Letter to the Editor.”
    3. Discuss how to maximize advocacy platforms that will work for your agency and how working with community partners and new coalitions will enhance your position. 


    NRPA Education online learning content is accessible for 180 days from the date of your registration. The learning content is available for registration for one year from the date of origination.

    Jason Lang, MS, CPRE (he/him)

    Director of Parks and Recreation

    East Goshen Township

    Jason Lang is the Parks and Recreation Director for East Goshen Township, a rural, suburban community thirty miles outside Philadelphia. Under his leadership, the community’s perception of the department’s importance has grown considerably, culminating in being named the 2019 PRPS Agency of the Year and three-time NRPA Gold Medal Finalist community. He has professionally and personally been involved in public service and advocacy for over twenty years, serving in the U.S. Army including serving in Iraq during Operation Enduring Freedom alongside educational work in Political Science while an undergrad student at Penn State University.  Since 2018, his department has used SOPARC to quantify park statistics to stakeholders, with his parks annually savings local park users over $3M in associated health care savings annually. He is currently the PRPS Board Secretary, serves on its Awards and Health and Wellness Committees, and is co-chairing the 75th Anniversary PRPS Conference in 2022. 

    Roslyn Johnson, CPRP (she/her)

    Director

    Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks

    Roslyn Johnson, CPRP was unanimously confirmed in March 2020 as the first female director for Baltimore County Maryland's Department of Recreation and Parks.  She is excited her career has come full circle and she is able to bring her expertise in the field and her innovative spirit back to the County where she was raised.  She was most recently the Deputy Director of Facility Operations for a six-time National Gold Medal winning Parks and Recreation agency in Prince George's County, MD.  In this role, she led innovative recreation programs that served the community.  She also put systems in place so that the department could successfully zero out their carbon footprint in 2018.  She had oversight of natural and historic resources, sports and arts programs and facilities, maintenance and development, and public affairs and marketing.

    Roslyn has an extensive career in the field of parks and recreation. In the past 17 years, she has held Deputy Director and Associate Director positions in parks and recreation agencies in Richmond, VA; the District of Columbia; and Baltimore. Her background and experience include overseeing multi-million dollar budgets, leading a diverse workforce, managing programs and facilities, and representing the agency in community outreach with elected officials, residents, and communities. 

    Roslyn has been very involved in NRPA (National Recreation and Park Association). She was a Board Member of NRPA from 2013-2019. Roslyn was a keynote at the inaugural Symposium on Leisure and Recreation Tourism in Shenzhen, China where she presented on being a Gold Medal Recreation and Parks Department as well as on the National Recreation and Parks Association.  She presented at the first Urban Park Conference in Chicago, is a familiar presenter at the NRPA Conference, she taught during the inaugural year of the Graduate Institute at Oglebay and currently was an instructor for NRPA Director's school from 2015-2019. She has been a member of the NRPA Urban Park Directors group since inception, served a short stint on the Program Committee, was a diversity mentor, young student/professional lunch pair, and assisted with the Urban Parks Summit. Roslyn is a Senior Executive Fellow of the Harvard Kennedy School and has a certificate of leadership from The Center for Creative Leadership.

    Her passion and enthusiasm for her profession is ever evolving and Roslyn recently completed training to become a Certified International Coach. She is also very involved in the professional community and is a member of The Ethnic Minority Society of NRPA, Maryland Recreation and Parks Association, Americans for the Arts, Maryland Association of Counties and The National Forum of Black Public Administrator's Maryland and Central Virginia chapters. Her induction into The American Academy for Park & Recreation Administration has been one of her long awaited professional goals.

    She’s a true advocate for and passionate believer in innovation of all forms; especially the ways in which it can shape our communities and the lives of our residents. Roslyn has served as keynote both nationally and internationally.  These days, Roslyn is particularly focused on the intersection of diversity and innovation as we look for ways to adapt to and to continue to enjoy an ever changing world. 
    Roslyn graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park and in her free time enjoys making fused glass jewelry and silversmithing. 

    Gina Cohen (she/her)

    Vice President of Communications and Chief Marketing Officer

    National Recreation and Park Association

    Gina has been with NRPA for over 8 years. She leads a team of marketing, communication and publishing experts, each dedicated to NRPA’s mission and the good work accomplished every day by the park and recreation professionals throughout this country. Gina’s passion for parks and recreation began at a very young age.  Some of her fondest memories as a child are learning to swim, ballet and tap dance lessons, playing tennis and picnicking with her family – all offered through the park and recreation center in the small town where she lived. Gina learned early on that  parks and recreation is a powerful force in restoring the human spirit.  And to this day, when asked what her favorite place is, she quickly replies – a park!

    Elvis Cordova (he/him)

    Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy

    National Recreation and Park Association

    Elvis Cordova is the Vice President of Policy and Advocacy for the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), which is the nation’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of public parks, recreation and conservation.  Mr. Cordova leads NRPA’s federal policymaking initiatives by providing strategic planning for enhancing community-based and capacity building programs, and stakeholder engagement to advance parks, recreation, and conservation efforts that enhance the quality of life for all people. Mr. Cordova is a seasoned executive with over a decade of experience developing and implementing solutions for some of the most significant and high-profile challenges facing the U.S. public sector.  He has a unique combination of political, legal, economic, and international expertise.  He is a proven strategist and manager, adept at building coalitions and communicating effectively to diverse stakeholders.  He has built an intimate knowledge of the workings of the U.S. government and has developed strong relationships with a range of policymakers in key markets around the world. 

    In 2012, Mr. Cordova was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as a Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  From 2012 to 2017, Mr. Cordova served in various leadership roles at USDA, including Deputy Under Secretary and Acting Under Secretary.  He oversaw food labeling programs (including organic and biotechnology), international trade regulations, research & educational grant programs, nutrition programs, commodity procurement, plant & animal health regulations, process verification programs, conservation programs, and the expansion of local and regional food systems.  He served on the White Task Force for Puerto Rico, focusing on building public-private partnerships to aid in the economic recovery efforts for the island.  Mr. Cordova entered the federal government a Presidential Management Fellow at the Farm Credit Administration and at the U.S. Department of Energy where his work encompassed alternative energy, economic development, financial services, and congressional affairs. Outside of the federal government, he served as a consultant for the United Nations where he focused on trade development strategies for emerging markets in Southeast Asia.  He also served as Vice President of Public Relations at Tzolkin Media Inc., and Director for Latin American programs at the Self Reliance Foundation.  Mr. Cordova began his career as a financial analyst at the Harvard Management Company.

    He holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University and a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University.  He is a recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Graduate Fellowship and holds various professional certificates from Georgetown University, Harvard University, University of California at Berkeley, Universidad de Sevilla (Spain), Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina), École Nationale des Travaux Publics de l'État (France), and Pontificia Universidade Catolica (Brazil). 
     
    In his personal time, Mr. Cordova works with various national leadership organizations to create and expand opportunities for diverse communities in the Washington, D.C. area.  He has previously served on the Executive Board of the Washington D.C. Chapter of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (now known as Prospanica).  He has served as a senior advisor for the Aspen Institute’s International Career Advancement Program.  He is a graduate of Leadership Alexandria, which is an executive-level training program in the national capital area, as well as a graduate of the Political Leaders Program from the Sorensen Institute at the University of Virginia.  He is an alumnus of Project Interchange, which is an international leadership program of the American Jewish Committee and an alumnus of the Hispanic Leaders Program, a professional development program organized by the Foreign Ministry of Spain. Mr. Cordova presently lives with his family in Alexandria, VA and has previously lived in Latin America and Europe.  His language capabilities include Spanish, Portuguese, and French. 

    Dan McCarthy (he/him) (Moderator)

    Advocacy Manager

    National Recreation and Park Association

    Dan McCarthy joined NRPA in February 2021 to lead grassroots advocacy campaigns and support members in their advocacy. Dan comes most recently from the anti-hunger community in Boston, where he organized coalitions to alleviate childhood hunger. He is a firm believer that our communities are stronger — and our government more effective — when people are interested, informed, and involved in the democratic process. 

  • Pollinator Awareness and Sustainability in Your Community

    Contains 3 Component(s)

    Learn how you can join and leverage NRPA’s Parks for Pollinator BioBlitz to engage your community in a virtual or in-person community science campaign that educates about the natural world around us.

    Learn how you can join and leverage NRPA’s Parks for Pollinator BioBlitz to engage your community in a virtual or in-person community science campaign that educates about the natural world around us. In this webinar, you will find out how you can capitalize on your community’s findings, in terms of the plants and pollinator species identified, to help you and your park’s team better understand and actively protect biodiversity and advance sustainability efforts. Hear park professionals explain how they hosted their BioBlitz campaign; educated their communities; and leveraged the experience to advance efforts to protect pollinators, native habitats and biodiversity in their communities.  

    Tamara Aquino, CPRP (she/her/hers)

    Lake Highlands North Recreation Center Supervisor

    City of Dallas Park and Recreation Department

    Tamara Aquino Cespedes currently serves the Dallas Park and Rec department as Supervisor III for Lake Highlands North Recreation Center. As a first-generation college student, she graduated with a Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University and earned her CPRP certification back in 2019. Since starting her recreation profession back in City of College Station, her main focus in programming is creating equitable access for youth. She enjoys designing curriculum and training others to lead activities that give kids an opportunity to do things they haven't done before. Her favorite city-wide recreation programs to be involved in are Outdoor Adventures and Late Teen Night. She is grateful for her team, her family, and the Parks and Rec show.

    Betty Blockinger (she/her/hers)

    Volunteer Coordinator

    Columbus Recreation & Parks Department

    Betty Blockinger is the Volunteer Services Manager with Columbus Recreation and Parks Department. She has 10+ years of volunteer and non-profit management experience. She oversees Columbus Recreation and Parks Department’s volunteer program that include 15,000+  volunteers who annually plant trees, coach youth sports, mentor teens and much more.  She is passionate about placing volunteers in safe and exciting service projects throughout the city of Columbus.

    Rosalie Hendon (she/her/hers)

    Environmental Planner

    Columbus Recreation and Parks Department

    Rosalie Hendon is an environmental planner for the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department. She manages natural resource projects on city parkland—everything from forests to prairies. Hendon holds two master degrees from the Ohio State University in both public administration and natural resources. An advocate of data-driven approaches to conservation work, Hendon is frequently surveying species in Columbus parks to determine the effects of habitat restoration. She believes local government has a critical role to play in environmental policy.

    Brett Johnson (he/him/his)

    Senior Environmental Coordinator and Urban Biologist

    City of Dallas Park and Recreation Department

    Brett Johnson is a Certified Wildlife Biologist, with 17 years experience in urban base natural resource management. After about 12 years with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as an Urban Wildlife Biologist, he moved into his current position as the Urban Biologist for the Dallas Park and Recreation Department, where he has been for the last 5 years. With the city, he oversees the feral hog trapping program, conservation outreach, prairie management, the Bird City Texas efforts, and the overall pollinator conservation “program”. Outside of work, he is very involved in scouts as an Assistant Scoutmaster, risk management chair, and he sits on the local council’s conservation committee. His interest in conservation started in the Boy Scouts, where he earned his Eagle Scout. He has a BS in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M and an MS from Texas Tech University.

    Michele White (she/her/hers)

    Program Manager

    National Recreation and Park Association

    Michele White is a program manager for the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), whose work is centered in how parks advance conservation, sustainability and resiliency for communities across the country.  She specifically manages the Parks for Pollinators campaign, focused on raising public awareness of the current pollinator crisis by encouraging local action and advancing pollinator health and sustainable habitat through the work of park and recreation professionals and their communities.  She has a B.A. from Mount St. Mary’s University and is a Certified Association Executive and a graduate of the US Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management (IOM).  She is passionate about the connection of sustainably managed open space and their support of healthy ecosystems, especially pollinators.  

  • The History of Equity in Parks and Recreation

    Contains 3 Component(s)

    Decisions made throughout the history of the United States have shaped the inequities in park access and quality we see today. Join this webinar to learn about the decisions that led to these inequities and how they shaped the parks movement as well as how this history impacts local efforts to address systemic inequities.

    One in three people in the United States lack access to a high-quality park within a half-mile of their home; for some, this was done intentionally. Decisions made throughout the history of the United States created the inequities  in park access and quality that we see today. From the consequences of the first Europeans settling on Indigenous lands to the intentional impacts by land-use professionals in the twentieth century to segregate cities, this webinar will explore U.S. history and the evolution of parks and recreation. Before park and recreation professionals can address these inequities, we must understand the history that created them. This webinar will provide a starting point for understanding this history on a national and local level.

    Learning Objectives:

    1. Learn how white supremacy and systemic racism impacted the parks movement.
    2. Understand how today’s inequities were created by decisions made throughout U.S. history.
    3. Learn how this history impacts local efforts to address systemic inequities.


    NRPA Education online learning content is accessible for 180 days from the date of your registration. The learning content is available for registration for one year from the date of origination.

    Brandi Peacher (she/her)

    Director of Project Management

    Lexington, KY Office of the Mayor

    Brandi Peacher is the Director of Project Management in the Office of the Mayor with the City of Lexington, KY.  Peacher obtained a master’s in architecture from the University of Kentucky. Her design, planning, and development career has included work on a variety of commercial, residential, and public projects in Chicago, Dubai, and Lexington. Today, Peacher oversees a group of public space projects under the Town Branch Commons umbrella.  This signature project will follow the historic path of Town Branch, Lexington’s original water source, link downtown parks, incorporate green infrastructure, and provide an enhanced multi-modal transportation network.  

    Michelle Kosieniak (she/her)

    Superintendent of Planning and Design

    Lexington, KY Parks and Recreation

    Michelle Kosieniak is the Superintendent of Planning and Design at Parks and Recreation in Lexington Kentucky. Upon completion of a BS in Landscape Architecture from the University of Kentucky, Kosieniak joined Parks and Recreation as a park designer. She has dedicated 25 years to community engagement while planning, designing and promoting stewardship at over 100 parks in Lexington. Kosieniak and her staff execute dozens of capital projects each year such as replacing the playground at Charles Young Park. One of Lexington’s oldest, this park has been a social center for a diverse, culturally rich, urban neighborhood since 1930. 

    Jared Mummert (he/him)

    Park Access Program Manager

    National Recreation and Park Association

    Jared Mummert is a Park Access Program Manager at NRPA and has been with the organization for 3.5 years. At NRPA, Jared has led work on NRPA’s Community Engagement Resource Guide, Equity in Parks and Recreation story map and Resilient Park Access grant program. With a B.S. in Environmental Law and Policy from Unity College, Jared is dedicated to environmental justice issues and is currently pursuing his Masters of Public Administration at George Mason University. Prior to his time at NRPA, Jared worked as a political and community outreach organizer on multiple campaigns, including organizing farmers in Maryland to close loopholes in the Clean Water Act, engaging Colorado voters in the 2014 midterm election, and working to connect low-income families to national parks. Jared has also served in the Student Conservation Association, AmeriCorps, and the National Park Service as park ranger for multiple sites, including Grand Teton National Park. As an avid outdoorsman and public lands advocate, Jared is passionate about ensuring everyone has access to quality open spaces.

  • Expect the Unexpected: FEMA’s Emergency Management Courses

    Contains 2 Component(s)

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) Emergency Management Institute (EMI) provides opportunities for free education. Join this webinar to learn more about EMI’s variety of training topics as well as how to connect to the free distance learning and in-person learning opportunities provided through EMI and how to access other FEMA resources.

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    The past year has demonstrated the necessity of strong emergency preparedness skills in unprecedented ways regardless of the type of challenge, whether man-made or natural. With the continued impacts of climate change and constant challenges facing our communities — it’s best to be prepared. This webinar will provide an opportunity for park and recreation professionals to become familiar with the free learning opportunities provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) Emergency Management Institute (EMI). EMI is the emergency management community’s flagship training institution that provides distance and classroom training to federal, state, local, tribal, volunteer, public and private-sector officials to strengthen emergency management core competencies for professional, career-long training. Offerings cover issues around natural resource management as well as pre-planning, mitigation and response efforts that range in focus from community emergency management training to organizational management training and steps for applying to FEMA for funding. 


    Learning Objectives 
    Following this session, learners will be able to: 

    1. Become familiar with FEMA’s EMI distance and classroom training programs. 
    2. Learn how to connect with the free learning opportunities provided by EMI.


    NRPA Education online learning content is accessible for 180 days from the date of your registration. The learning content is available for registration for one year from the date of origination.

    Michael Sharon (he/him/his)

    Deputy Superintendent | Emergency Management Institute | National Preparedness Directorate

    Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

    Michael Sharon is the Deputy Superintendent at the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) in Emmitsburg, MD. EMI is part of FEMA’s National Preparedness Directorate (NPD). He was previously the Federal Preparedness Coordinator and National Preparedness Division Director at FEMA Region III, the Operations Planning Branch Chief, and Regional Integration Branch Chief.  Mike is a career emergency manager who also held positions at the U.S Department of State, Maryland Department of the Environment, and Maryland Emergency Management Agency.  Mike directly supports FEMA’s disaster response efforts as Chief of the National Response Coordination Center’s Gold Team and also as a liaison to the U.S. Secret Service during special security events.

    Michele White (she/her/hers) (Moderator)

    Program Manager

    National Recreation and Park Association

    Michele White is a program manager for the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) whose work is centered in how parks advance conservation, sustainability, and resiliency for communities across the country.  She has a B.A. from Mount St. Mary’s University and is a Certified Association Executive and a graduate of the US Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management (IOM).  She is passionate about the connection of sustainably managed open space and their support of healthy and resilient communities.