This Brave New World

March 1, 2015, Department, by Gina Mullins-Cohen

Gina Mullins-Cohen, NRPA's Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Publishing and Editorial Director.February 27, NBC News reported on explorer Sam Cossman, who in December shot photos and video of the inside of an active volcano in the South Pacific by using GoPro cameras attached to two drones. Climbing to the edge of Marum Crater located in the island nation of Vanuatu, Cossman, armed in a customized fire-retardant suit, respirator and gold-plated face mask, captured thousands of high-definition photos of the boiling lake of lava. The mouth of the volcano was 1,000 feet across and the temperature 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Cossman’s drones perished from the heat and his face mask and respirator melted, but the result was thousands of high-definition photos of the inside of this volcano. This work by Cossman and his team will provide much-needed insight enabling scientists and researchers to understand volcanic activity, as well as the circumstances that make life viable in some of the most extreme environments on Earth, and quite possibly other planets.

It is well-known that drones, or as they are also called, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), have a multitude of uses from warfare to research to education and even the ability to provide online shoppers with a better and faster delivery options. What does this mean for you and me, and how does this or how could this impact the everyday life of a park and recreation agency?

The recreational use of drones is on the rise. Some retail outlets are quoted as selling upwards of 200 units a day. Park and recreation agencies need to understand all aspects of this growing hobby. In this issue, Rich Dolesh, NRPA’s vice president of conservation and parks, tackles this question in the feature article, “The Drones are Coming.” Investigating this growing trend and its influence on park and recreation agencies throughout the county, Dolesh details the pros and cons of drone use in parks. Interviewing park and recreation directors, as well as UAV enthusiasts, Dolesh addresses the new regulations released on February 15 from the FAA. The wealth of information and insight into the future of this modern-day phenomenon make this an article not to be missed.

Last month, President Obama spoke to the critical need for children to have safe and close access to parks, and NRPA’s CEO Barbara Tulipane announced NRPA’s “I Am a Park and Rec Kid” campaign in celebration of NRPA’s 50-year anniversary. This program is designed to demonstrate and promote the personal bond people of all ages, cultures and walks of life have for their community park and recreation agencies. Take part in this campaign. It is easy and one promising fun for staff and community, as well as the ability to plant seeds of loyalty and commitment for the field of park and recreation for the next 50 years. Click here for exciting details about NRPA’s “I Am a Park and Rec Kid” campaign, coming soon.

Gina Mullins-Cohen is NRPA's Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Publishing and Editorial Director.