Fresh off the heels of NRPA’s national convention, we are inspired by the keynote speakers, motivated by the education sessions and impressed by the products and services found on the show floor. Awareness of NRPA’s Three Pillars: Conservation, Health and Wellness, and Social Equity, moved from conversation topics and plans in 2013 to execution and delivery this year. Progress was made and all signs point to continued improvement.
Clearly, however, the job is not done, and with deeper examination of the multifaceted topic of social equity by this year’s keynote panelists, one can only see greater effort ahead. Social equity is age, it is religion and race, physical and mental disabilities, economic culture and opportunity, and it is gender.
Resurrecting the topic of gender equity in the cover feature, “It’s (Still) a Man’s World,” NRPA’s Government Affairs Manager Sage Learn examines the often brutal treatment of young women in sports today. Learn addresses this alarming and controversial subject that can no longer be ignored.
“Learning by Design” by Kevan Williams focuses on the creative design achievements in planning and architecture emerging from universities to enrich and support park systems allowing for healthier communities and environments. The Rural Studio at Auburn University and the Howard S. Wright Neighborhood Design/Build Studio at the University of Washington provide students with the very real opportunity to design and build out park and recreation centers from scratch, as well as through revitalization projects offering community enrichment and a growing expanse of opportunity to students seeking to work both for and with park systems.
This month’s Conservation column by David G. Davis, associate director of landscaping services at Wake Forest University, discusses the importance of native plants to our increasingly fragile ecosystem and how going native in park landscape design preserves crucial habitats of insects such as bees and butterflies.
Every day, while providing crucial and often overlooked community services, park and recreation agencies continue to strive for improvement and to make “it” happen within their communities. And so I ask you, are we making “it” through our awareness and desire to change? Are we making it? Let us know. We want to hear your stories.