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News & Events

2020 Young Professional Externship Application Due March 25 - Download Here:

Member Survey Results:

2019 Survey of Management Challenges - Responses - NEW

2019 Report to the Membership on the AAPRA Strategic Positioning Survey - NEW

News Highlights Contained Below:

  Academy Installs the 2019-2020 Board of Directors
  1. Academy Welcomes Largest Class Ever
  2. The Annual Banquet
  3. Pugsley Award Recepients & Sponsors
  4. National Gold Medal Grand Plaque Recipients
  5. Academy Awards Best Paper (Master Thesis) To Jeongseup Lee 
  6. Research Task Force Identifies 10 Themes for Future Research to Address Challenges
  7. 2019 Young Professional Externs 
  8. AIPE/Academy Foundation - 2019 Pottsie Scholarship Recipients

Academy Installs the 2019-2020 Board of Directors!

Mark McHenry, Academy President 2018-19 and Chair of the Nominating Committee, installed the 2019-2020 Board of Directors at the September 25th General Membership Meeting:
President:                        Dianne Hoover, Bakersfield, CA
President-elect:               Michael McCarty, Glenview Park District, IL
Past President:                Carolyn F. McKnight, Dallas, TX
Treasurer:                        Bill Foelsch, Township of Morris, NJ
Secretary:                        Janet Bartnik, Mountain Recreation District, Gypsum, CO
Directors:                         Tracey Crawford, Northwest Special Recreation Association,
                                         Rolling  Meadows, IL
                                         Joe Turner, New Braunsfel, TX
                                         Terry Schwartz, Greensboro, NC
                                         Susan Trautman, Great Rivers Greenway District, St. Louis, MO
                                         Steve Wolter, Eppley Institute, Bloomington, IN
                                         Mary Beth (Thaman) O'Dell, Kettering,OH


L to R: Joe Turner, Dianne Hoover, Susan Trautman, Bill Foelsch, Janet Bartnik,

Mary Beth (Thaman) O’Dell, Michael McCarty, Carolyn F. McKnight, Tracey Crawford


Academy Welcomes Largest Class Ever!

The Membership Committee’s extensive outreach in 2019 resulted in a record number of applicants with 17 new members installed at the September 25th General Membership Meeting:

  • Rick Atkins – Director, Parks and Recreation; Round Rock, TX
  • Robert Barcelona – Chair and Associate Professor Dept. of Recreation Management and Policy, University of New Hampshire; Durham, NH
  • Chris Beth – Director, Parks, Recreation and Community Services; City of Redwood City, CA
  • Darrell Crittendon – Director, Parks, Recreation and Open Space; Norfolk, VA
  • Myron Floyd – Professor and Dept. Head College of Natural Resources, North Carolina State University; Raleigh, NC
  • Jill Geller – Director, Parks & Recreation, City of Roseville, CA
  • Karen Hesser – Chief of Operations, Five Rivers Metroparks; Dayton, OH
  • Troy Houtman – Director, Parks, Arts and Recreation; Wichita, KS
  • Michael Kirshman – Director, Parks and Recreation; Virginia Beach, VA
  • Donna Kuethe – Director, Parks and Recreation; Moultonborough, NH
  • Terry Rynard – Director of Parks and Recreation; Kansas City, MO
  • Joe Snook – Administrator, Parks and Recreation; Lee’s Summit, MO
  • Daniel Stencil – Executive Officer, Oakland County Parks and Recreation; Waterford, MI
  • Anson (Cory) Styron – Director, Outdoor Recreation Industry Initiatives; Farmington, NM
  • Greg Weitzel – Director, Parks and Recreation; Las Vegas, NV
  • Dan West – Director, Broward County Parks and Recreation Division; Oakland Park, FL
  • James Worsley – Director, Parks and Recreation Chesterfield County; Chesterfield, VA

The Annual Banquet

Over 150 Academy members and guests attended the 2019 Annual Banquet held Wednesday, September 25th in Baltimore, MD. In addition to the fellowship of the event the Academy recognized the 2019 Externs, the Pugsley Medal recipients, and President Carolyn F. McKnight bestowed the President’s Awards to: Jodie Adams, Chair, Gold Medal Committee; Larry Allen, Chair, Research to Advance the Profession Task Force; and Susan Trautman, Chair, Membership Committee, for their leadership in advancing the goals of the Academy.

View the evening’s Highlights here!

Pugsley Medals Awarded at the Academy Annual Banquet

The Academy’s Pugsley Committee proudly bestowed 2019 Honorable Cornelius Amory Pugsley Medals on three individuals:

Richard J. Dolesh, director, Patuxent River Park, MNCPPC; Maryland Department of Natural Resources; and currently vice president of strategic initiatives, National Recreation and Park Association, Ashburn, VA.

Renee E. Bahl, assistant director, Arizona State Parks; director, San Diego County Parks and Recreation Department; executive director, Arizona State Parks Board, assistant county executive, Santa Barbara County, CA; and currently Associate Vice Chancellor, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA.

Dr. Phillip Rea, superintendent Eagle Creek, City of Indianapolis, IN; assistant professor, professor, department chair, North Carolina State University; and director of the Revenue Development and Management School.
For the first time, Ruth Prescott, Chief of Staff, National Park Foundation, participated in the awarding of the medals. Joining her was Brian Borkowicz, Pugsely Medal supporting sponsor, Davey Tree Expert Company, and Ralph Cryder, Chair, Pugsley Committee.
The Academy congratulates these outstanding recipients for their leadership in advancing parks and conservation.

Pugsley Award Recepients & Sponsors


National Gold Medal Grand Plaque Recipients
Announced at NRPA’s Opening General Session

Immediate Past President Carolyn F. McKnight had the honors of announcing the Grand Plaque finalist agencies at the Opening General Session in Baltimore. The Academy congratulates the following agencies for their award:

Armed Forces:                 Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler, Okinawa, Japan
State Parks:                     Florida Park Service/Florida Department of
                                         Environmental Protection
Class V:                            Glencoe Park District, IL
Class IV:                           Westerville Parks and Recreation, OH
Class III:                           The Woodlands Township, TX
                                         (Academy Member Chris Nunes, Director)
Class II:                            Metro Parks Tacoma, WA
Class I:                             Fairfax County Park Authority, VA
The National Gold Medal Awards Program is sponsored by Musco Lighting, LLC and is administered by the National Recreation and Park Association, under the direction of the American Academy. 

Academy Awards Best Paper (Master Thesis) To Jeongseup Lee 

Best Paper Chair Mark Young presented a certificate and $1000 check to Jeongseup Lee, Texas A & M University, for his paper “Examining varying levels of accessibility to greenways based on socio-demographic characteristics.” Lee briefly described his work to further understand the factors that may impact use of greenways.


Research Task Force Identifies 10 Themes for
Future Research to Address Challenges

Establishing evidence-based management strategies has been a primary concern of the profession for many years.  Therefore, in 2018, the AAPRA Research for the Advancement of P & R Task Force was charged to conduct a survey to identify the primary research needs and interests among the AAPRA members.   After much debate and discussion by the Task Force, a survey was conducted in conjunction with the 2019 Strategic Positioning Survey.  There were 59 respondents; of these respondents, 55 were Fellows not associated with an academic institution.  Since the charge was primarily focused on research needs as identified by practicing professionals, the responses from the four academic affiliated Fellows were not included in the final analysis. Ten overriding themes were identified.Click here to read full descriptions of the themes and next steps.

The 2019 Young Professional Externs were selected from a highly competitive field of sixteen candidates. Congratulations to: 
  • Brandon Ashe, Operations Manager, River City Sportsplex, Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation, Chesterfield County, Virginia;
  • Kelsey Heiden, CPRP, Recreation Center Manager, City of New Braunfels Parks and Recreation Department, New Braunfels, Texas;
  • Anthony Iracki, CPRP, Recreation Supervisor, Whitefish Bay Recreation Department, Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin;
  • Rashad Jackson, Recreation Supervisor, City of Lancaster, Lancaster, Texas
AIPE/Academy Foundation - 2019 Pottsie Scholarship Recipients

This year the AIPE/Academy Foundation’s John C. Potts Leadership Development Scholarship Committee received 25 applications from parks and recreation professionals nationwide seeking an opportunity to attend the 2019 NRPA Directors School in Chicago.  Congratulations to the two recipients:

  • Monique BreauxRecreation Coordinator, Marble Falls Parks & Recreation DepartmentMarble Falls, Texas
  • Adrienne Lacy, Assistant Recreation DirectorMarinette Recreation Department, Marinette, Wisconsin


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