NRPA Recognizes Excellence in Parks and Recreation with Innovation and Spotlight Awards

(June 13, 2018)

Awards to be presented at the 2018 NRPA Annual Conference

Ashburn, Va. (June 13, 2018) — The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) today announced the recipients of this year’s NRPA Innovation Awards and NRPA Spotlight Awards. The awards will be presented at the 2018 NRPA Annual Conference, Sept. 25–27, 2018, in Indianapolis, Indiana, where NRPA will announce the winner of its Best in Innovation Award, which recognizes the best of the best in park and recreation innovation.  

New this year, NRPA Innovation Awards recognize park and recreation agencies nationwide that have improved and empowered their communities through innovative practices in park design, health and wellness, conservation and social equity. The recipients of this year’s awards are as follows:   

Innovation in Health Award
Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, Alhambra, California

Innovation in Conservation Award
Forest Preserves of Cook County, Cook County, Illinois

Innovation in Social Equity Award
Chicago Park District, Chicago, Illinois

Innovation in Park Design Award
Town of Glastonbury, Glastonbury, Connecticut

The winners of each of these categories will face off in a public vote for the Best in Innovation Award. NRPA members and the public are encouraged to vote between June 25–29 at

“NRPA is proud to recognize innovation in parks and recreation with these awards,” said Barbara Tulipane, CAE, NRPA president and CEO. “Congratulations to this year’s winners who have demonstrated their commitment to building better communities through innovative park and recreation practices.”

NRPA Spotlight Awards are presented to individuals to honor their efforts — both professional and personal — in the field of parks and recreation. NRPA is proud to recognize these individuals with the following awards:   

Robert M. Artz Advocate Award
Nixon Adams, chair, board of commissioners, Recreation District #1, Pelican Park, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana

Robert W. Crawford Young Professional Award
Jeff Ozimek, outdoor adventure programming manager, Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District, Bainbridge Island, Washington

RWJF-NRPA Award for Health Equity
Becky Tuttle, director of community development/chair, Greater Wichita YMCA/Health & Wellness Coalition of Wichita, Wichita, Kansas

National Distinguished Professional Award
Michael Klitzing, chief operating officer, Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation, Carmel, Indiana

Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Award for Excellence in Recreation and Park Research
Andrew Mowen, professor, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

“On behalf of the entire awards committee, I want to congratulate this year’s award winners,” said Cindi Wight, chair of the NRPA Awards Committee. “Their positive contributions to the field of parks and recreation will make a difference in the communities they serve and beyond.”  

To learn more about NRPA Innovation Awards, click here.

To learn more about NRPA Spotlight Awards, 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