Genius or Insanity? Three Proven Examples Of Why It's Worth The Effort To Build Engaging, Meaningful, and Inclusive Cross-Park Programs
As park and recreation professionals, we strive to build programs that engage our visitors in meaningful learning and recreation while working diligently to close the park access gap by demanding equity and affordability for all. While a huge task for individual parks, the staff at Anne Arundel County (Maryland) Recreation and Parks sought to expand further, working since 2016 to build a suite of environmental education programs spanning its department and leveraging the unique assets of its parks, partnerships and local communities. These include the Maryland Recreation and Parks Association award-winning Bay Invaders 9th grade environmental science program empowering 1,500 students to remove 2,000 pounds of invasive plants from parks, its quarterly creative 'Ask A Ranger' web series, and the agency's new Nature Escape program that safely engages about 300 children in eight weeks of nature-based activities during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In this session, participants will learn our proven strategies for building cross-park programs that positively impact our parks and communities.
- Apply strategies for leveraging local education and community partnerships toward building meaningful, engaging and inclusive cross-park environmental and outdoor programs.
- Market and promote cross-park programs to a wide public and digital audience to drive diverse participant engagement.
- Uncover funding mechanisms that close the park access gap, creating affordable park programs serving all adults and children.
Liana Vitali (she/her)
Anne Arundel County Recreation & Parks - Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary
Liana has been a Naturalist for six years with Anne Arundel County Recreation Parks the recipient of the Jan Hollman Environmental Educator Award. Prior, she designed environmental education curriculum for international wildlife conservation nonprofit Wildscreen. She is a regular speaker for the Smithsonian Associates Earth Optimism series and has presented at over two dozen conferences.
Dave Burman (he/him)
Anne Arundel County Recreation & Parks - Quiet Waters Park
Ranger Dave has been with Anne Arundel County Parks Department for 14 years. He specializes in research, programming and husbandry. He graduated from Catawba College Center for the Environment in 2004. He works with his colleagues and outside groups to bring a variety of programs to our county. He has 22 years of speaking experience at all levels of education from preschool to professors.
Victor Jones (he/him)
Anne Arundel County Recreation & Parks
Victor Jones has been a Park Ranger with Anne Arundel County, MD for four years. During the time of the Covid-19 pandemic Victor was asked to assist with creating and launching an online web series for the county to reach those unable to visit the parks in person. This project rekindled a past love of filmmaking and produced an ongoing county digital series called 'Ask a Ranger'.
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