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

(June 8, 2020)

Awards to be presented virtually at the 2020 NRPA Annual Conference

Ashburn, Va. (June 9, 2020) — The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) today announced the recipients of this year’s NRPA Innovation Awards, NRPA Spotlight Awards and Scholarships and Fellowships. The awards will be presented virtually during the 2020 NRPA Annual Conference, in October, when NRPA will announce the winner of its Best in Innovation Award, which recognizes the best of the best in park and recreation innovation.  

The NRPA Innovation Awards recognize park and recreation agencies nationwide that have improved and strengthened 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 Conservation Award
The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department, The Woodlands, Texas

Innovation in Health Award
HomeRECed: A navigational guide to everyday recreation, City of Golden Valley, Minnesota

Innovation in Park Design Award
Riverfront Spokane, U.S. Pavilion & Howard Street Promenade, Spokane Parks and Recreation Department, Spokane, Washington

Innovation in Social Equity Award
Restoring Pittsburgh Parks: The Parks Plan, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

One of the Innovation Award winners will be selected by the NRPA National Awards and Scholarship Committee to receive the 2020 Best in Innovation Award. The winner of Best in Innovation will be announced at the virtual 2020 NRPA Conference in October.

NRPA Spotlight Awards are presented to individuals to honor their efforts — both professional and personal — in the field of parks and recreation. The following individuals are recognized with NRPA Spotlight Awards:  

Robert M. Artz Advocate Award
Greg Cox, chairman, County of San Diego Board of Supervisors, San Diego, California

Robert W. Crawford Young Professional Award
Anthony Iracki, recreation supervisor, Whitefish Bay Recreation, Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin

RWJF-NRPA Award for Health Equity
Carol Zernail, senior vice president, social responsibility and foundation executive director, WellMed Charitable Foundation, and Daryl Quarles, senior program division manager, Dallas Park and Recreation Department, Dallas, Texas

National Distinguished Professional Award
Dr. James Worsley, CPRE, CTRS, director, Chesterfield County Parks & Recreation, Chesterfield, Virginia

NRPA Scholarships and Fellowships provide recipients with the opportunity to attend and explore the operation of the field at the NRPA Annual Conference, which will be held virtually in October 2020. 

Young Professional Fellowship 
Meredith Lawrence, City of Mendota Heights
Jenna Stevenson, City of Baytown Parks & Recreation

Diversity Scholarship
Jairo Rios-Campos, PlayEast!

Student Scholarship
Abigail Sandy, Texas A&M University, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

“NRPA is proud to recognize innovative projects and programs at park and recreation agencies, as well as the incredible work by dedicated individuals,” said Kristine Stratton, NRPA president and CEO. “Congratulations to this year’s winners who have demonstrated their commitment to building communities through parks and recreation.”

“The NRPA National Awards and Scholarship Committee is pleased to honor the 2020 NRPA recipients of the Innovation and Spotlight Awards,” said John Stutzman, chair of NRPA’s National Awards and Scholarship Committee and recreation supervisor for the City of Golden Valley, Minnesota. “The committee was honored and excited to review nearly 200 applications of qualified initiatives and individuals who have made significant contributions to their communities through the field of parks and recreation.”

To learn more about NRPA Innovation Awards, click here.

To learn more about NRPA Spotlight Awards, click here.

To learn more about all NRPA 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 people 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