The National Recreation and Park Association’s (NRPA) award-winning Parks & Recreation magazine is distributed to more than 60,000 people via print and digital magazines and helps park and recreation professionals serve the public by providing cutting-edge content, exclusive research, innovative “case-study” solutions and commentary from high-profile government and civic leaders within the fields of health, conservation and equity. Parks & Recreation magazine is in the unique position of bringing NRPA members together, while providing a much-needed voice to a field where the workers devote countless hours ensuring kids of all ages, cultures and economic backgrounds have safe places to gather, play and make memories. The magazine is considered one of the best in the industry with 92 percent of readers saying it is the leading publication in the field of parks and recreation.

Browse our writers' guidelines.

Print Copies

NRPA members and students will find print copies of Parks & Recreation magazine in the mail monthly — subscription is included as part of NRPA member dues. NRPA Premier Members may consult with their internal membership coordinator to find copies of the magazine delivered to their agencies. Subscriptions for non-members are available for $46 per year in the United States; $56 per year elsewhere. To learn more or obtain a subscription, email NRPA Customer Service at


Magazine Staff

Gina Mullins-Cohen joined NRPA in March 2013 and serves as vice president of communications and chief marketing officer. Mullins-Cohen brings with her more than 18 years of communication and publication management experience. She has launched and managed numerous publications in several diverse industries, as well as owned and directed a media-communications firm. As founder of Eclipse Media Partners LLC, she was able to work with and report on the achievements within park systems in Southern California. Prior to Eclipse Media Partners, Mullins-Cohen held the post of executive vice president of Electronic Retailing Association (ERA), where she oversaw the communications, publishing and education divisions. Her consumer publication, Edible Orange County, was the recipient of the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Publication in 2011. Her work in B2B publishing and communications has been the recipient of four Maggie Awards from the Western Publishing Association. Mullins-Cohen lives in Lansdowne, Virginia.

Vitisia “Vi” Paynich, executive editor of Parks & Recreation magazine, print and online content, has been covering the field of parks and recreation as a freelance writer for Parks & Recreation magazine since 2016. As an editor, writer, blogger and director of content, Vi has been working in digital and print publishing for more than 20 years. In July 2004, she joined the Electronic Retailing Association (ERA), a nonprofit serving the direct response marketing industry, as editor-in-chief to launch its monthly publication. After serving seven years on the magazine, Vi transitioned into the content manager role at ERA — leading the educational programming for its annual conferences. She also oversaw editorial for ERA’s blog, e-newsletter and other digital projects. Prior to that, she worked as an editor for both B2B and consumer magazines. Vi earned a bachelor’s degree in magazine journalism from California State University at Long Beach.

Lindsay Collins, associate editor of Parks & Recreation magazine, joined NRPA in March 2018 as the board liaison before joining the magazine staff in April 2019. Prior to NRPA, Collins worked for the Federal Protective Service, where she provided support for the explosive detection canine training program. Before moving to Virginia, Collins attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she received a bachelor’s degree in legal studies and political science. Collins currently lives in Warrenton, Virginia, where she enjoys hiking with her dog Romeo and practicing photography.



If you are interested in having Parks & Recreation feature one of your company's products, please send a hi-res image and description of no more than 100 words to Meghan Fredriksen at NRPA.


Parks & Recreation Magazine Advisory Board

Parks & Recreation magazine regularly works with our Advisory Board — an expansive, nationwide alliance that includes high-level entrepreneurs, park and recreation professionals, architects and academics — to make each issue as thoughtful, informative and useful for NRPA members as possible. These partners lend their time, voice and insights to keep Parks & Recreation at the cutting edge of news and trends affecting our industry. Below, meet the members.

  • Open or CloseMichael Abbaté, FASLA, LEED AP

    Principal, Abbaté Designs LLC

    In his extensive career in both the private and public sectors, Mike Abbaté has had the honor of being the landscape architect on some of the Pacific Northwest's most iconic landscapes:  Multnomah Falls and the Columbia River Gorge, Mount Rainer National Park, Tanner Springs Park and other projects in Portland's Pearl District, the Oregon Zoo, Oregon State Parks and others.

    In his many years as the Director of Portland Parks & Recreation, Mike oversaw the planning, design, construction and maintenance of over 200 parks and natural areas, and over $75 million of new construction. He is also one of the two founding principals of one of the region's most notable landscape architecture firms, GreenWorks.  Mike has received many awards from the American Society of Landscape Architects for his work.

    Now, Mike Abbaté has returned to his vocational first love: planning and designing beautiful outdoor environments and facilities for people that are good for the environment as well.

    Mike is a member of the Council of Fellows of the American Society of Landscape Architecture, an honor bestowed to less than 5% of all practicing landscape architects. The author of Gardening Eden (published by Random House), he is driven by an ethos of our spiritual responsibility for ecological stewardship.

    Mike is Oregon Registered Landscape Architect #223, and is certified by the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB).  He has also been a LEED Accredited Professional since 2003. He recently became a Licensed Landscape Construction Professional.

  • Open or CloseNeelay Bhatt

    Principal, PROS Consulting, Inc.

    Neelay’s experience on four continents includes Disney, The Super Bowl, The Summer Olympics and Paralympics Games, besides years of consulting, public speaking and training. TEDx, the global platform for ideas, describes him as a business and communications visionary, and his service on the National Recreation and Park Association’s Board of Directors is committed to ensuring that ‘no child is left indoors’. Additionally, VisitIndy, America’s leading convention and visitors bureau, profiled him as one shaping the future of the City.

    He believes in the ‘Power of One’ – one person / one action to change the world and his messages on empathetic leadership, magical customer service and the art of storytelling have benefited executives, professionals, and students from North America to China and from Europe to New Zealand.

    Besides leading a TED Global workshop in Canada, presenting multiple TEDx talks and coaching TEDx presenters, he is a sought-after keynote speaker for parks and recreation, sports and events conferences globally.

    He has led 130+ strategic and master planning, sports facility development, customer service training, and marketing and branding projects while focusing on innovation, partnerships, financial sustainability, and a guest experience of the highest quality. These projects have recommended facility development and infrastructure improvements totaling over $2 billion USD, and are helping to shape a better vision for parks, recreation, and sports all over the world.

  • Open or CloseAnthony-Paul (AP) Diaz, Esq.

    Executive Officer and Chief of Staff, Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks

    AP Diaz is responsible for helping to manage and oversee all day to day operations of the Department, while assisting the General Manger in all governance and leadership matters related to the Park's Commission, City Council, City Attorney and Mayor's Offices.

    AP has over 18 years of professional experience and service to the City of Los Angeles. Prior to assuming his duties at RAP, he served as a City Attorney in the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office where he handled and litigated hundreds of matters in the Criminal Branch and as a specially assigned prosecutor in the City's Neighborhood Prosecutor Program. Thereafter, he served in the Civil Division's Municipal Law Branch as legal counsel to the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, General Services Department and as lead contract counsel for the Los Angeles Police and Fire Departments. He also served as one of the principal City Attorneys assigned to advise and staff the Los Angeles City Council.

    Prior to assuming the role of Executive Officer & Chief of Staff, AP served many years as General Counsel for Recreation and Parks, helping guide the Department on many high profile and important endeavors, most notably the transformation, restoration and management model for the historic and iconic Greek Theatre.

    AP also serves as an instructor at the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles Fire Department Leadership Academies teaching Adult Development Theory and Transformational Leadership and is a Judge Pro Tem for the Los Angeles Superior Court.

    AP was born in Hollywood and grew up and went to school in Santa Monica. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in International Politics from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, Washington and a Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.

  • Open or CloseRyan Eaker

    Nature-Based Programs Coordinator, Austin, Texas, Parks and Recreation, Lorraine “Grandma” Camacho Activity Center

    Ryan Eaker is the nature-based programs coordinator and acting supervisor of Austin Parks and Recreation’s Camacho Activity Center. Eaker has developed and led outdoor adventure, environmental education and arts programming for youth, teens, families and senior citizens for more than 13 years. Eaker holds a variety of outdoor industry guide and instructor-level certifications and a bachelor’s degree in English literature.

  • Open or CloseBeau Fieldsend

    Manager, Strategic and Section Infrastructure, United States Tennis Association National Campus

    Biography coming soon.

  • Open or CloseRobert Garcia

    Founding Director and Counsel, The City Project

    Robert García is a civil rights advocate who engages, educates, and empowers communities for equal access to public resources. He is the Founding Director and Counsel of The City Project, a non-profit legal and policy advocacy team in Los Angeles, California. The City Project works with diverse allies on equal access to (1) healthy green land use through community planning; (2) climate justice; (3) quality education including physical education; (4) health equity; and (5) economic vitality for all, including creating jobs and avoiding displacement. Robert received the President’s Award from the American Public Health Association.

    PODER Magazine named him one of the Top 100 Latino Green Leaders. Hispanic Business Magazine has recognized him as one of the 100 most influential Latinos in the United States. Robert graduated from Stanford University and Stanford Law School, where he served on the Board of Editors of the Stanford Law Review. He is an Assistant Professor at Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science.

  • Open or CloseKathleen Gibi

    Executive Director, Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful

    Kathleen Gibi, public affairs specialist for city of Knoxville, Tennessee, Communications and originally a communications specialist in parks and recreation, has been instrumental in Knoxville achieving an assortment of national media attention for its health and outdoor initiatives, including recognition at the White House from First Lady Michelle Obama and ranking No. 1 nationally among Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties (LMCTC). A recipient of the National League of Cities LMCTC Most Dedicated Staff Member Award, Gibi is now coordinating communications for Knoxville's Public Works Department, which is opening the door to her working with city leaders to incorporate infrastructure methods that encourage a more active community. Gibi has also worked with marketing/communications consultation on the side, most notably serving as a media liaison for Jenny Berggren, lead singer from 90s pop sensation, Ace of Base.

  • Open or ClosePaul Gilbert, CPRP

    Executive Director, Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority

    Paul Gilbert is the executive director of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NOVA Parks, formerly known as NVRPA), a multijurisdictional park agency with an annual operating and capital budget of almost $30 million. In his role, Gilbert implemented a number of entrepreneurial practices that grew his agency’s enterprise revenue more than 75 percent between 2005-2014. He is an adjunct professor at George Mason University and is also the author of two books and numerous articles. In his spare time, Gilbert serves as a volunteer on the boards or in leadership roles of several organizations in his area of expertise.

  • Open or CloseTim Herd, CPRE

    Chief Executive Officer, Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society

    Tim Herd, CPRE, is the executive director of the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society. His professional experience encompasses community, commercial, outdoor and therapeutic recreation; environmental education; parks, trails, greenways and open-space management; and executive leadership in governmental, nonprofit and corporate settings. Herd is an award-winning writer and broadcaster, and the author of several books and countless published articles, features and serial columns on leadership development, the benefits of parks and connecting to nature.

  • Open or CloseBrian Johnson, CPSI

    Chief Marketing Officer, BCI Burke

    Biography coming soon.

  • Open or CloseDenise Johnson-Caldwell

    Design Planner, Baltimore City, Maryland, Recreation and Parks

    Biography coming soon.

  • Open or CloseRoslyn Johnson, CPRP

    Director, Baltimore County Recreation and Parks

    Roslyn Johnson most recently served as the Deputy Director for Facility Operations at the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and previously served as the Chief of the Commission’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Division. A Baltimore County native and graduate of Baltimore County Public Schools, Johnson has also held leadership positions in the parks and recreation departments in Richmond, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore City. She is a member of the National Recreation and Parks Association and the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, and has served on the Board of Directors for the National Recreation and Parks Association. Johnson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Senior Executives in State and Local Government certificate from the Harvard Kennedy School.

    As the Director of Recreation and Parks, Johnson will oversee a vast network of parks, recreational facilities and recreational programs that serve the residents of Baltimore County. She will lead the department as it works to expand equitable access to recreational opportunities to every community in Baltimore County. Her nomination is subject to approval by the County Council.

  • Open or CloseMichele Lemons

    Director, Chicago Park District’s Communications Department

    Biography coming soon.

  • Open or CloseSam Mendelsohn

    Chief Executive Officer, Greenfields Outdoor Fitness

    As founder and CEO of Greenfields Outdoor Fitness, Sam Mendelsohn has increased the role parks play in bolstering community wellness. With his 25 years of entrepreneurial and executive experience, Mendelsohn has been a pioneer in the push for greater inclusivity in outdoor fitness environments.

  • Open or CloseMaria Nardi

    Director, Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces

    Maria I. Nardi was appointed Director for Miami Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department (PROS) effective August 1, 2017. Ms. Nardi is responsible for one the most diverse and largest park systems in the country.  She oversees Planning and Development, Park Stewardship Operations and Administration of a system that includes over 270 park properties, over 13,000 acres of park land comprised of active and passive parks, as well as protected, environmentally sensitive properties, serving 2.7 million residents and approximately 1.4 million residents for the unincorporated area.  They include the Deering Estate at Cutler, Zoo Miami, over 26,000 acres of Natural Areas Conservation and Management (NAM), Golf Enterprise, 14 miles of Beaches, Agriculture Extension, Causeways, 260 miles of roadways, Disabilities Services, Marina Enterprise, and multiple Operating Regions.

    Ms. Nardi also oversees the implementation of the Parks and Public Space Masterplan to transform Miami Dade into a more socially, economically and environmentally vibrant community through a system of parks, public spaces, natural and historic areas connected by greenways/blueways and complete streets designed as linear parks.  Her vision includes the role of parks and public spaces in shaping cities; the emerging evidence-based science of health and the built environment; and the creation of equitable, resilient communities through parks and public space.

    Prior to her work at Miami Dade County, Ms. Nardi initiated Miami21; a rewrite of the City of Miami’s zoning to transform the city into a walkable, pedestrian friendly community.  Ms. Nardi has spoken extensively on issues related to the role of public space in the development of cities. The Parks Masterplan and Recreation Program has been recognized by the White House and the National Park and Recreation Association as a national model for transforming communities. She has been recognized for her work, including the International Progressive Architecture Urban Design Award, the University of Miami Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Architecture Profession, the Harvard Honor Award for Excellence in the Study of Landscape Architecture, The Mayor’s Woman Pioneer Award and the Miami AIA Leadership in Government Award.

    Ms. Nardi is committed to public service and the enhancement of the community’s health, happiness and prosperity through the implementation of the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Department’s Planning and Design Excellence, Health and Fitness and Conservation Pillars. She has worked in the public sector 20 years where her vision for a sustainable and resilient community focuses on the attribute that every great community has a great park system.

  • Open or CloseLisa Paradis, CPRP

    Senior Consultant, BerryDunn

    Lisa is a Senior Consultant in BerryDunn’s Parks and Recreation Practice. Based in Massachusetts, Lisa has 25 years of experience as a public Parks and Recreation Director. As a consultant, leader, mentor, and often provocateur, she helps organizations and communities achieve new heights by embracing systemic challenges through bold, action-oriented strategic planning, and financial and organizational management.

    Lisa is a nationally known speaker, trainer, and facilitator with a wealth of knowledge to share on health, wellness, and recreation. She was inducted into the American Academy of Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA) in 2018.

    Prior to joining BerryDunn, Lisa was most recently a Director with Brookline Recreation, an urban community adjacent to Boston. Her experience includes helping clients with master and strategic planning, feasibility studies, cost recovery, and financial sustainability modeling. She travels nationally to present leadership training and workshops on a broad array of parks and recreation topics.

  • Open or ClosePaula Sliefert

    Senior Marketing Manager, The Toro Company

    Paula Sliefert joined The Toro Company in 2007 and currently serves as senior marketing manager in the company’s commercial business. In her role, she has responsibility for supporting a number of Toro’s key industry relationships, as well as helping to develop and implement strategies targeted at growing the sportsfields and grounds market segments, which represent professional and collegiate sports, educational institutions and government including federal, state and local entities. Additionally, Sliefert serves as an authorized negotiator to the General Services Administration for The Toro Company.

  • Open or CloseDr. Shonnda Smith, CPRP, AFO

    Senior Director, City of Mobile, Alabama, Parks and Recreation

    Dr. Shonnda Smith is the Senior Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Mobile. In her previous post as Chief Programming Officer at New Orleans Recreation Development Commission, Dr. Smith led the vision and services of six divisions: Special Programs, Aquatics, Athletics, Recreation/Tennis Centers, Marketing and Public Relations. She developed, reviewed and analyzed all programs, events and activities, as well as projected the financial needs and resources by reviewing and analyzing current fiscal conditions. Dr. Smith created and managed a yearly budget of 10.5 million dollars and communicated regularly with the Board of Commissioners, New Orleans Development Foundation, local and state officials, non-profit organizations, media, and the general-public. Dr. Smith attended California State University Long Beach, in Long Beach, California where she earned a BA in Kinesiology and a Masters in Sports Management. She also holds a Doctorate Degree in Education (Ed. D), from Nova Southeastern University, in Organizational Leadership and Human Services Administration.

  • Open or CloseAnne-Marie Spencer

    Vice President, Corporate Marketing and Communications, PlayCore

    Anne-Marie Spencer is the corporate vice president of marketing for PlayCore in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and works within the company's Center for Professional Development. Throughout her career, she has written 23 books and more than 150 articles. She also serves on the board of directors for the Chambliss Children's Center in Chattanooga, and enjoys working out and advocating for play and recreation.

  • Open or CloseStephen Springs

    Senior Principal, Brinkley Sargent Wiginton Architects

    Stephen Springs’ 19-plus years of award-winning recreation design work has often been recognized in print, along with several articles about designing quality-of-life projects. He has been an advocate for parks and recreation as a municipal parks commissioner, a city plan commissioner, and by walking the halls at the state legislature. Springs has also served as an educational speaker at various conferences, including at the NRPA 2015 Annual Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.