Coffee Talk Replay: Preparing for the Impacts of Climate Change — Episode 090

By Cort Jones and Roxanne Sutton | Posted on May 4, 2021

Episode 090 410

On today’s episode of Open Space Radio, we’re re-releasing one of our Coffee Talks from last year’s NRPA Virtual, where we discussed the importance of park and recreation professionals being prepared for disasters due to a changing climate. We were joined by Kenny Weigandt from Willamalane Park and Recreation District in Oregon and John DiSpaldo, a regional preparedness liaison for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to talk specifically about the wildfires that were impacting much of the western part of the country last year. We chose to release this episode today because it aligns well with a new tool NRPA just released.

We know there is an increase in the number of climate events we see each year — like wildfires, hurricanes, extreme wind events and more — and that increase is directly related to the impacts of climate change. We also know park and recreation professionals, as managers of a large percentage of our public lands, play a critical role in climate mitigation strategies. One of these solutions is a new tool called Climate.Park.Change., which was created by the design firm Sasaki in partnership with NRPA. This toolkit compiles data on how climate change is affecting park and recreation spaces and offers physical design and community engagement solutions to address climate impacts. The tool currently covers 10 intermountain west states, but the strategies can be applied throughout much of the country.  

We encourage you to check out this tool after listening to our Coffee Talk. Tune in below to learn how climate change is impacting the work of park and recreation professionals in the western part of the country, as well as: 

  • How the Willamalane Park and Recreation District responded to the wildfires in September 2020. 
  • How park and recreation professionals play a role in disaster recovery efforts. 
  • How FEMA works with local governments and park and recreation agencies in responding to and recovering from disasters. 
  • Why it’s critical for park and recreation professionals to be prepared for disasters that take place due to a changing climate. 
  • How the wildfires made Willamalane Park and Recreation District re-evaluate their disaster preparedness plans, and more! 

Other resources that may be of interest: 

Listen to the episode for the full story.


You can also listen to Open Space Radio on SpotifyStitcheriHeartRadio and other podcast services.