NRPA Launches Sustainability in Practice Cohort Program

By Stephanie Whyte | Posted on February 22, 2024

JPB Grant Blog Photo

Integrating sustainability into your rural or suburban park agency can feel like a daunting task, especially in the beginning. With only 14 percent of park and recreation agencies having their own formal sustainability plan, we know this experience is common. For this reason, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is launching its first Sustainability in Practice cohort program.  

The Sustainability in Practice program is designed to provide park professionals with examples, templates, skills, resources and new ways of thinking to achieve easy environmental wins and long-term strategic changes. With a dynamic and interactive approach, participants in this program will learn from and alongside their peers as well as industry experts and NRPA staff how to troubleshoot obstacles to implementing sustainability plans and practices from a community-driven lens. 

With park and recreation professionals planning, managing and maintaining over 11 million acres of public parks and greenspaces across the country, there is a tremendous opportunity for parks to take the lead in integrating climate solutions that build a healthy, resilient and equitable future for generations to come And while understanding the needs of your community and involving them in decision-making can be incredibly rewarding, it can also feel overwhelming. 

To facilitate this process, each park participant in the Sustainability in Practice program will invite a community-based organization (CBO) they work closely with to join them in this learning experience. Together, the CBOs can cultivate authentic community engagement while parks provide the space to make necessary changes happen 

Beginning in June 2024, 10 parks and their CBO partners will embark on a collaborative journey over the course of 16 weeks to harness the skills needed to ask the right questions, anticipating hurdles, and working together to develop actionable sustainability plans and practices. To support the CBO’s participation in the program, each will receive a $10,000 stipend to compensate for their time and their collaboration with parks on the implementation of actions learned throughout the program. There is no cost for parks to participate in this program.  

The application period for the NRPA’s Sustainability in Practice program begins this February 22 and will close on April 18, 2024. Apply today at this link, or click here for more information, as well as a link to our informational office hours on March 13, dedicated to answering questions about this opportunity.