Equity in Practice: Feedback from the Field

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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.

​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.  

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