NRPA Vice President, Richard J. Dolesh, Selected to Receive 2019 Pugsley Medal

(August 14, 2019)

Prestigious award recognizes outstanding contributions in parks and conservation

Ashburn, Va. (Aug. 14, 2019) — Richard J. Dolesh, National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) vice president of strategic initiatives, has been selected to receive a 2019 Pugsley Medal. Awarded by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), the Honorable Cornelius Amory Pugsley Medals recognize outstanding contributions to the promotion and development of public parks and conservation in the United States. The awards will be presented at AAPRA’s annual banquet, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Dolesh works tirelessly to advance parks and conservation at the local, state and national level. Moreover, thanks to his decades of service, he provides remarkable insight on a broad range of subjects as a teacher, mentor, advocate, leader, author and conservationist. A devoted public servant and an advocate for conservation, Dolesh communicates a deeper understanding of issues and challenges that have far-reaching implications for individuals, communities and the nation. His extensive industry knowledge, as well as his many contributions to the profession of parks and recreation, can be measured by the many ways he shows leadership, his personal and professional commitments to conservation and the conservation causes he champions, such as Parks for Pollinators and The Great Urban Parks Campaign. 

“On behalf of the entire NRPA Board of Directors and staff, I want to congratulate Rich on this outstanding achievement,” said Kristine Stratton, NRPA president and CEO. “Rich’s commitment to parks and recreation, specifically conservation, is unparalleled, and the impact of his contributions will make a difference for generations to come.” 

Since joining NRPA in 2002, Dolesh has applied and continues to build his extensive industry knowledge. His recent work includes exploring the role of parks in adapting to the impacts of climate change, engaging park systems green infrastructure stormwater management and climate resiliency, and assessing the impact of private funding for public parks.

Dolesh is a frequent contributor to NRPA’s award-winning Parks & Recreation magazine and has written numerous articles on parks and natural resources in various publications, including The Washington Post and National Geographic magazine.

The inaugural Pugsley Medals were awarded in 1928. The winner of the first National level award was Stephen T. Mather, a key figure in the creation of the National Park Service and its first director. The distinguished pedigree of subsequent honorees confirms the prestige of the awards.

To learn more about the American Academy for Park & Recreation Administration’s Pugsley Award, click here.

To learn more about NRPA, visit   


About the National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit