NRPA Celebrates Park and Recreation Professionals Day, July 17, 2020

(July 17, 2020)

National day of recognition celebrates the people of parks and recreation

Ashburn, Va. (July 17, 2020) — The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), the nation’s leading advocate for parks and recreation, is proud to recognize July 17, 2020, as national Park and Recreation Professionals Day. Part of NRPA’s monthlong Park and Recreation Month celebration, themed “We Are Parks and Recreation,” this special day honors park and recreation professionals nationwide who work tirelessly to build strong, healthy and resilient communities through the essential programs and services they provide.    

Originally developed by the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society (PRPS), Park and Recreation Professionals Day is a special time to recognize the people of parks and recreation who proudly serve as facilitators of health and wellness opportunities, public health professionals, planners, environmental educators, engineers, climate change experts, social service providers, nutritionists, inclusion advocates and more. From protecting open space and natural resources, to helping fight obesity and providing activities and resources for all people, this diverse group of professionals is on the frontlines helping confront the nation’s most pressing health, environmental and social challenges — including the COVID-19 pandemic — all while helping ensure local parks and programs are well-maintained, safe, inclusive and welcoming.  

“At NRPA, we are proud to honor and celebrate the selfless and passionate people of parks and recreation,” said Kristine Stratton, NRPA president and CEO. “This dedicated group of individuals makes up one of the nation’s most noble professions, and as their champion, we are happy to celebrate their hard work and dedication as part of Park and Recreation Professionals Day. To all of our esteemed members and colleagues, we thank you for your service.”

To commemorate this special day, park and recreation agencies across the country will host events to honor staff either virtually or in-person, depending on state and local guidance regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. The public is invited to participate, as well, by entering NRPA’s Thank a Park and Rec Pro contest. Film a video thanking a park and recreation professional in your community for the services they provide and post it on social media using the hashtag #ThankAParkAndRecPro for a chance to win prizes throughout July. Additional information about the contest is available here.

NRPA encourages everyone to learn more about the critical role park and recreation professionals play in the health and vitality of communities everywhere. The July issue of Parks & Recreation magazine highlights 54 professionals who were nominated and selected as this year’s Park and Recreation Month heroes, and a recent episode of Open Space Radio features a discussion with Tim Herd, PRPS CEO, on the topic of Park and Recreation Professionals Day, which he founded, and why this year’s Park and Recreation Month – focused on the professional – is different.     

Since 1985, people have celebrated Park and Recreation Month in July to promote the importance of parks and recreation  in health and well-being, conservation and equity, and to recognize the more than 160,000 full-time park and recreation professionals — along with hundreds of thousands of part-time and seasonal workers and volunteers — that maintain our country’s local, state and community parks.

Park and recreation professionals and agencies across the country recognize the month with summer programs, virtual events, contests, commemorations and more. NRPA encourages people that support parks and recreation to share their park and recreation story, as well as why their local park and recreation professionals are important to them, with the hashtag #WeAreParksandRec.

To learn more about Park and Recreation Month, visit

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 people have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and 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