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  • Great Urban Parks Campaign

    Includes a Live Event on 08/23/2018 at 2:00 PM (EDT) Recorded On: 03/15/2018

    This product provides access to all archived and future learning material related to the Great Urban Parks Campaign and Green Infrastructure initiative.


    NRPA, in collaboration with the American Planning Association (APA), created the Great Urban Parks Campaign to improve environmental and social outcomes in underserved communities through promoting and advancing green infrastructure stormwater management projects within parks. Green infrastructure uses natural processes to slow the flow of and filter water to protect and restore clean and healthy waterways. Additionally, it is an efficient way to increase community resilience by addressing stormwater runoff, reducing localized flooding, and increasing biodiversity and wildlife habitat while simultaneously providing communities increased access to recreational opportunities and to nature

    This subscription provides you instant access to all previous and upcoming webinars related to this important campaign. 

    Next Webinar

    Oh No! Solving Difficult Problems in Green Infrastructure Projects

    August 23, 2018 at 2:00 pm (EST)

    Green infrastructure project sponsors are sometimes confronted with seemingly intractable problems that have no good solutions.  Such problems seem to be more likely if projects are innovative or involve public/private partnerships. Challenges can include unexpected and unrealistic requirements for liability insurance; contractual clauses that state the government agency partner can demolish your project for any cause and then require you to build it back at your cost; requirements that private sector non-profits meet government procurement regulations and other problems that can make you shake your head in disbelief.

    This webinar tackles the really difficult kinds of problems that might crop up in GI projects and shows how, with ingenuity and diligence, every problem can be solved.  If you are working on green infrastructure projects with governmental or non-profit partners, you won’t want to miss this interesting webinar that provides valuable guidance on solving the toughest problems. 

    Rich Dolesh (Moderator)

    Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, National Recreation and Park Association

    Richard J. Dolesh joined NRPA in 2002 and serves as the vice president for conservation and parks. He is responsible for development and implementation of national policy and initiatives related to conservation, stewardship and parks.

    Rich worked 30 years in parks, outdoor recreation, and natural resource management at the local and state level in Maryland before coming to NRPA. His recent work includes leading NRPA's Parks Build Community initiative, coordinating the Parks for Mitigation demonstration projects, and working with the National Wildlife Federation to connect 10 million kids to nature and the outdoors over the next three years. Rich represents NRPA on a number of coalitions and advisory groups including the Sustainable Urban Forestry Coalition, the steering committee for Natural Play and Learning Area guidelines, and the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES).

    Rich is a frequent contributor to NRPA's Parks and Recreation Magazine, and has written numerous articles on parks and natural resources in publications including The Washington Post and National Geographic Magazine.

    Jenny Cox

    Conservation Program Specialist, National Recreation and Park Association

    Jenny Cox is a Program Specialist on the Conservation team at the National Recreation and Park Association. Jenny joined NRPA in 2016 and works on NRPA’s Great Urban Parks Campaign, promoting green stormwater infrastructure in parks. She also manages community engagement initiatives and leads NRPA’s Equity Advisory Panel. Prior to NRPA, Jenny worked at American Rivers assisting with restoration and green stormwater infrastructure projects, specifically in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. 

    David Rouse, FAICP, ASLA

    Managing Director of Research and Advisory Services, American Planning Association

    David Rouse is the Managing Director of Research and Advisory Services for the American Planning Association in Washington, DC. In this capacity he leads APA’s applied research programs, including the Planning Advisory Service and the three National Centers for Planning: Green Communities, Hazards Planning, and Planning and Community Health. David is a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners and a registered landscape architect with over 30 years of experience in community planning and design.

    Lori Robertson

    Director of Conservation, National Recreation and Park Association

    As Director of Conservation at the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Lori Robertson provides strategic direction and fundraising oversight for NRPA’s conservation portfolio. With background as a science educator in both public school and residential outdoor programs, Lori has spent her career working to connect young people with the natural world. She comes to NRPA from the Student Conservation Association where she led SCA’s national engagement strategy and created programs focused on providing urban residents with service, learning, and recreation opportunities on public lands. She is a graduate of the 2016 American Express Nonprofit Leadership Academy, a current student at Georgetown University and mom to 3 year old River.

    Emily Clifton

    Senior Environmental Planner, Low Impact Development Center, Inc.

    Emily Clifton, AICP is Senior Environmental Planner and Scientist for the Low Impact Development Center, a national research organization that focuses on sustainable stormwater management solutions for urban and developing areas. Emily has over 15 years of experience in green infrastructure management and leads the Low Impact Development Center’s efforts on green infrastructure planning. She has an M.S. in Environmental Science and a Master’s in Public Affairs from Indiana University. She also holds a B.A. in Business Administration and a B.A in Philosophy from Austin College. Emily provides leadership on design manuals, training, outreach efforts, research, and plan development and review for the Low Impact Development Center. 

    Serda Ozbenian

    Conservation Program Manager, National Recreation and Park Association

    As Conservation Program Manager Serda manages various programs at NRPA, including Wildlife Explorers. Serda has extensive experience as an environmental researcher, policy specialist, and educator with organizations such as the Earth Island Institute, Animal Welfare Institute, and Earthjustice. She was a 2015 Fulbright Fellow, holds an MS in Environmental Science and Policy from George Mason University and was selected in 2010 as an Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leader.

    Robert Goo

    Environmental Protection Specialist, Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds, US Environmental Protection Agency

    Robert Goo works in the Office of Water at the Environmental Protection Agency.  His primary focus is to promote the use of green infrastructure to manage runoff and protect and restore water resources.  In this capacity he works with state and local governments, NGOs, academia, and industry to assess and evaluate best management practices for stormwater management and encourage their implementation in a cost effective manner.    Robert also works on the development of voluntary codes and standards such Sustainable Sites, LEED, ASHRAE, and the National Green Building Standards.

    Na'Taki Osborne Jelks

    Co-Founder, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA)

    Dr. Na'Taki Osborne Jelks co-founded the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA), an urban, community-based organization of Proctor, Utoy, and Sandy Creek Watershed residents in Northwest and Southwest Atlanta, GA who are overburdened with environmental stressors and pollution, but often underrepresented at environmental decision-making tables. WAWA was established as a result of community efforts to halt discriminatory wastewater treatment practices in West Atlanta, and the organization has grown to become an impactful force in community-centered sustainable development.

    In addition to her community leadership and activism, Dr. Jelks is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Health at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia.

    Paula Conolly

    Director, The Green Infrastructure Leadership Exchange

    Paula coordinates the Green Infrastructure Leadership Exchange, which is a network of cities seeking to advance their green stormwater infrastructure programs. Prior to the Exchange, Paula led major policy initiatives for Philadelphia's renowned Green City, Clean Waters program, helping to change “business as usual" to implement over 30 acres of green stormwater infrastructure on parks, vacant lands, streets and private property.

    Claire Robinson

    Founder and Managing Director, Amigos de los Rios

    Claire Robinson is the Founder and Managing Director of Amigos de los Rios “the Emerald Necklace Group", a non-profit developing parks and open space and a regional green infrastructure network throughout disadvantaged areas of Los Angeles County. Claire's multi-disciplinary background and approach has led to the unique success of Amigos in creating culturally relevant open space. With a background in cultural history and planning, and the teaching and practicing of art and architecture. She currently serves as member of the USDA' National Urban & Community Forestry Advisory Council, and on the USFS Community Collaborative to guide development of the San Gabriel National Monument Planning process.

    Paul Taylor

    Chief of Capital Development for Baltimore's Department of Recreation and Parks

    Paul Taylor is a Landscape Architect by training and currently is serving as the Chief of Capital Development & Planning with Baltimore City Recreation & Parks.  A graduate of Queens University (Kingston) and the University of Toronto, Paul started his career in Parks in 1988 with the City of Mississauga – a suburban municipality of over 700,000 just west of Toronto, managing Park Development in the Community Services Department.  He moved to Atlanta in 2005 where he assisted with the early planning of the Atlanta BeltLine and served as the Director of Park Design with the City of Atlanta until 2014. 

    Jessica Brooks

    Manager of Green Stormwater Infrastructure Implementation Program at Philadelphia Water Department


    Heather Sage

    Director of Community Projects, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

    Ms. Sage joined the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy in May 2013 as the Director of Community Projects. She is responsible for working collaboratively with community partners on new and ongoing projects within the parks, providing project management and serving as a liaison between PPC and project stakeholders. Additionally, Ms. Sage manages government affairs, foundation relations, and community engagement opportunities, focusing on expanding ways that park volunteers, patrons and supporters can further grow the PPC mission and continue to benefit from the parks in their lives.

    Ruth Ayn Hocker, P.E.

    Stormwater Program Manager, City of Lancaster (PA)

    Ruth Ayn Hocker, P.E., D. WRE is the Stormwater Program Manager for the City of Lancaster, PA. She holds a bachelor degree in civil engineering technology from the Pennsylvania College of Technology and a master’s degree in environmental engineering from the Pennsylvania State University. She has a broad multi-disciplinary background including transportation design, low impact development, sustainable stormwater management design, stormwater management program development and municipal green infrastructure implementation. She currently oversees the operations of Lancaster City’s Stormwater and Wastewater Collections Programs.

    Jill Bankston

    Chief of Development, County of San Diego Parks and Recreation

    Jill Bankston is the Chief of Project Development for the County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation. She manages a team of engineers, landscape architects and park professionals in the planning, design, and construction of new parks and park amenities.  Jill received her BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Virginia and is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of California.  

    Matt Scharver

    Manager of Watershed Programs, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District

    Matt Scharver is the Manager of Watershed Programs for the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, coordinating various water quality programs with Sewer District member communities, including operation and maintenance of green infrastructure implementation under the Sewer District’s Project Clean Lake consent decree program to control combined sewer overflows in the greater Cleveland area. Additionally, he facilitates implementation of the Sewer District’s Regional Stormwater Management Program. He brings 17 years of field experience and stormwater management to the Sewer District and is both a Certified Professional in Erosion & Sediment Control (CPESC) and Certified Erosion, Sediment & Storm Water Inspector (CESSWI). 

    Travis Miller

    Regional Planning Manager, Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments

    Travis Miller is the Regional Planning Manager for the Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI), the Metropolitan Planning Organization for the greater Cincinnati region.  Miller manages various agency programs and leads regional environmental planning efforts. Miller is a landscape architect with a Master of Community Planning from the University of Cincinnati and a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from the Ohio State University.  Miller also serves as an adjunct instructor for the University of Cincinnati School of Planning teaching courses on transportation and energy planning. 

    Laurence Wiseman

    Senior Adviser to the Sustainable Urban Forest Coalition

    Laurence Wiseman has worked "in the woods" for nearly four decades, most recently in urban forestry. After serving as founding president and CEO of American Forest Foundation, he chaired the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council, and remains a senior adviser to the Sustainable Urban Forest Coalition

  • Hot Topic: Tackling the Opioid Crisis

    Stemming from the June 2018 Parks & Recreation article​, this webinar will discuss current national research defining the extent of opioid use and park and recreation professionals experiences with this national trend as it impacts their front line efforts.

    Webinar Icon

    There has been a lot of news and political attention currently being paid to a steady rise in American’s opioid use to what is now behind defined as an “Opioid Crisis” by political leaders. Stemming from the June 2018 Parks & Recreation article, this webinar will discuss current national research defining the extent of opioid use and park and recreation professionals experiences with this national trend as it impacts their front line efforts. Practical solutions will be shared along with suggested partnerships to help your agency get started in addressing this topic.

    Nick Pirelli

    Professor, Bridgewater State University

    Nick Pirelli is a professional educator and community leader who helps individuals and organizations discover their potential. He serves as a professor in both the Communications and Leisure Studies departments at Bridgewater State University.   He has held positions as a Campus Recreation Director, Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation, and mostly recently as Assistant Dean at Mount Ida College.  While as Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation for the Town of Canton, Nick served as Chairman of the Canton Alliance Against Substance Abuse.  He is a Certified Park and Recreation Professional and a Certified Emergency Manager. He is a member of the Association for Experiential Education and serves on the executive board of the Massachusetts Recreation and Park Association.  Nick holds a Master’s degree in Management, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Communication, which were both obtained from Bridgewater State University. 

    Shelly Strasser

    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.  

    'Kinzie Lee

    Lead for Strategic Partnerships, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control’s Office of Policy and Partnerships

    Commander Shannon (‘Kinzie) Lee, MPH serves in the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control’s Office of Policy and Partnerships as the Center’s Lead for Strategic Partnerships. She received a B.S. degree in Biology from Truman State University at Kirksville, Missouri and a MPH from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

    Commander Lee has 15 years of experience in public health, beginning her career in occupational health, food inspection and disease prevention as a Public Health Officer in the Air Force at Offutt Air Force Base (AFB), Nebraska and Edwards AFB, California. She originally joined the CDC in the Office of the Director’s Division of Issues Management and Executive Secretariat and moved to the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) in 2010. The last three years she served as the Deputy, Associate Director for Policy for NCBDDD. 

    ‘Kinzie excels in amplifying organizational processes—in her ten years at CDC she has re-designed/designed not only center-wide systems, but agency wide systems. She also has a strong background in strategic partnership development and engagement planning, gained from years of congressional and partner interactions. In an effort to continue to grow her personal interest in developing leaders and serving others she often uses human-centered design methods to help others develop solutions that both serve people and creatively accomplish goals.

  • Park Champions Initiative

    Park Champions across the country are inviting their members of Congress and their staff to see their parks and programs first-hand at park dedications, program kick-offs, special events, and more! The Park Champion show-and-tell advocacy model allows our members to create meaningful experiences for members of Congress that demonstrate the importance of investing in parks and recreation.

    imageThe Park Champions show-and-tell advocacy model allows our members to create meaningful experiences for members of Congress that demonstrate the importance of investing in parks and recreation. This online learning product brings together any past and future Park Champions learning opportunities through a single subscription. Within this free subscription, you will gain access and be notified of past and future webinars, micro-learning products, videos, and other resources produced under this initiative. 

    Next Event

    Pitch Perfect: Crafting Your Parks and Rec Elevator Pitch 

    July 30, 2018 @ 2:00 PM (ET)

    As park and recreation professionals, you know the importance of your agency’s work. After all, you’re out there doing the work and seeing its impact on the ground every single day. However, it’s easier done than said when it comes to communicating everything that parks and recreation means to your community to your elected officials. When you’re hosting your members of Congress and state and local officials at Park Champion events this year, do you have a parks and rec elevator pitch prepared? How about your park users and supporters? If not, we’ve got the tips you need to perfect your pitch.

     Join the NRPA Public Policy team, Jamie Polley, Director of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry for Marathon County, Wisconsin, and Jan Neitzert, Executive Director for the Missouri Park and Recreation Association, as we discuss how to craft an effective parks and rec elevator pitch that you and your supporters can use to advocate for your agency. Using advocacy best practices and the Did You Know/Friends of the Park model, you’ll leave this webinar ready to talk up your work in any situation.

    Jayni Rassmussen (Moderator)

    Advocacy & Outreach Manager, National Recreation and Park Association

    Jayni Rasmussen is the Advocacy and Outreach Manager for the National Recreation and Park Association. She manages the Public Policy's team's advocacy initiatives, including the Park Champion campaign. Prior to NRPA, Jayni worked at Ocean Conservancy, where she coordinated advocacy and outreach efforts both on Capitol Hill and on the ground to garner support for ocean health policy. Jayni is a graduate of Kent State University, where she received her B.A. in Political Science.

    Kate Clabaugh

    Senior Government Affairs Manager, National Recreation and Park Association

    Kate Clabaugh joined NRPA in May 2017 and manages our advocacy work related to health and wellness policy priorities, including nutrition, healthcare, and education. Kate previously worked for the national anti-hunger organization, the Food Research and Action Center, working with Congress to protect and expand access to the federal nutrition programs. 

    Kyle Simpson

    Senior Government Affairs Manager, National Recreation and Park Association

    Kyle Simpson joined NRPA in December 2017 and is heading up our public policy work on conservation, including infrastructure, Land and Water Conservation Fund, and resiliency. Kyle comes to NRPA after nearly 10 years on Capitol Hill, most recently having worked for Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri.

    Kevin O'Hara

    Vice President of Urban and Government Affairs, National Recreation and Park Association

    Kevin oversees NRPA's Federal Advocacy efforts and leads NRPA's engagement with urban directors and agencies. Previously, O'Hara was Manager of Government Affairs for the American Society of Landscape Architects where he oversaw advocacy efforts on urban parks, green infrastructure, children's access to nature and more. O'Hara also worked for a non-profit in the higher education finance sector where he led advocacy and college access initiatives. O'Hara earned a B.A. Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Minnesota's Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs. O'Hara and his wife Meaghan are residents of the Adams Morgan neighborhood in the District of Columbia, where they overlook the lovely Kalorama Park. His free time pursuits include hiking, travel, and good food.

    Roxanne Sutton

    Senior Communications Manager, National Recreation and Park Association

    Roxanne Sutton is the Senior Manager of Communications at the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). Her responsibilities include overseeing social media strategy and content development and promoting the award-winning work of our partnerships and business development team. She is also the host of NRPA’s podcast, Open Space Radio. In her role, Roxanne is fortunate to communicate and work directly with many NRPA members to promote new opportunities and showcase the great work local parks and recreation are doing in their communities. Prior to her role at NRPA, she worked at a PR firm in D.C. on a multitude of accounts ranging from energy clients to non-profits. She graduated with honors and recognition from George Mason University with her bachelors in Communication specializing in Public Relations. She was a member of Lambda Pi Eta and recipient of the Excellence in Communication Award.

    Catrina Belt

    Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist at National Recreation and Park Association


    Julie Dixon

    Director of Research, National Journal


    Le'alani Boykin

    Community Visioning & Planning Manager at Partnerships for Parks

    The contribution I am most compelled in making to the world is improving the processes that people work in; to streamline information exchange and harmonize relationships. I intend to understand both individual and group needs, and their portals to learning, to develop tools for their success.

    Luci Correa

    Senior Staff Analyst, Houston Parks and Recreation

    Luci Correa manages grants, legislation and development for the Houston Parks and Recreation Department. She has served the agency for 17 years in various functions including event and program sponsorships and grant writing. Luci holds a BBA in marketing from the University of Houston and an MBA from Texas Woman's University.

    Tyler Ray

    Director of Policy and Advocacy, American Hiking Society


    Wesley Trimble

    Program Outreach and Communications Manager, American Hiking Society


    Jamie Polley, CPRP

    Director of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry, Wausau & Marathon County, Wisconsin

    Jamie Polley has recently become the Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry for the City of Wausau and Marathon County WI. She was the Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Shakopee for 10 1/ 2 years. Prior to moving to MN She was the Director for the City of New London WI for four year. In 2011-2012 she attended the NRPA Director's School where she became familiar with the Did You Know Program. Having worked in a small WI City and coming to MN during the economic down turn it became apparent that she needed to do something to make Parks and Recreation important in her community. She brought the DYK program back to Shakopee and to the Minnesota Recreation and Parks Association where it was very well received and supported. The more she described the program the more other directors became interested. MRPA chose to support the program in 2014 and now has 29 agencies registered. Jamie plans to continue the advocacy effort that is so important to our profession as she returns to WI.

    Jan Neitzert, CPRP, CAE

    Executive Director, Missouri Park and Recreation Association

    Jan Neitzert has been Executive Director for the Missouri Park and Recreation Association since 2008. A graduate of the University of Missouri, Jan was a practitioner for over 25 years, including therapeutic, aquatic, municipal and educational settings. For 12 years, she served as General Manager for Homeowners' Associations in a series of start-up communities for Pulte Homes/Del Webb in Las Vegas, Nevada. Other positions include leadership of the Council of State Executive Directors and the Missouri Society of Association Executives. She is both CPRP and a Certified Association Executive.