Parks & Recreation, the monthly magazine of the National Recreation & Park Association in Ashburn, Virginia. NRPA has 60,000 members and is dedicated to advancing parks, recreation, and environmental conservation efforts that enhance the quality of life for all people.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gina Mullins-Cohen joined NRPA in March 2013 and serves as vice president of marketing, communications and publications. Mullins-Cohen brings with her more than 17 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.
Sonia Myrick, executive editor, joined the magazine staff in June 2015 following an eight-year stint as the senior editor and writer for the National Association of Landscape Professionals. Myrick’s work on the magazine includes editing, writing and managing production. In addition to her work at Parks & Recreation magazine, Myrick is a freelance editor. She holds a B.A. in English from Dartmouth College and lives with her husband, son and daughter in Reston, Virginia.
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 Sonia Myrick 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.
Director, Portland, Oregon, Parks & Recreation
Mike Abbaté is a landscape architect with 30 years of experience in the planning and design of outstanding public parks and recreational facilities, including Portland's Tanner Springs Park and Hood River's Waterfront Park. He has been the director of Portland Parks & Recreation since 2011, where he leads a bureau with more than 3,000 permanent and seasonal employees and an annual budget of approximately $100 million. Abbaté has a career that spans both the public and private sectors. In 1997, Abbaté co-founded GreenWorks, an award-winning landscape architecture and environmental design consulting firm, recognized for its sustainable design philosophy. In addition to being a registered Landscape Architect in Oregon, he is certified nationally through the Council of Landscape Architects Registration Board, and is a LEED™ Accredited Professional. He is also a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and served for six years on an Advisory Board for the University of Oregon. Abbaté was inducted into ASLA’s Council of Fellows in 2013.
Director, Washington D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation
Keith Anderson is the Director for the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation. In January 2015, he was appointed Interim, and then Acting Director, by Mayor Muriel Bowser. Anderson was confirmed by the D.C. City Council in July 2015. Prior to DPR, Anderson held the title of Director at the District’s Department of the Environment (DDOE). As DDOE’s Director, Anderson established the world’s first Stormwater Retention Credit trading program and lead the effort to make D.C. the third most sustainable city in the United States. With more than 12 years of public service experience in the District, Anderson has served as DDOE's Director, Interim Director, Deputy Director and Chief of Staff.
Anthony-Paul (AP) Diaz, ESQ.
Executive Officer and Chief of Staff for the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP)
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.
Nature-Based Programs Coordinator, 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.
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.
Public Affairs Specialist, City of Knoxville, Tennessee, Office of Communications
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.
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.
Executive Director, 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.
Brian Johnson, CPSI
Chief Marketing Officer, BCI Burke
Chicago Parks and Recreation
CEO, 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.
Chief of Planning and Design Excellence, Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation
Maria Nardi serves as the Assistant Director of Planning and Design Excellence for Miami Dade County Parks. Her work 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 communities through greater access to parks and public spaces. Prior to her work at Miami Dade County, Nardi was Chief of Urban Design for the City of Miami. Nardi 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 and the Harvard Honor Award for Excellence in the Study of Landscape Architecture.
Lisa Paradis, CPRP
Vice President and Principal at 110% Inc
Ms. Paradis is the VP and Principal at 110% Inc, a consulting company with a laser focus on organizational analysis, strategic thinking and planning, and getting results. As a management advisor, strategist and catalyst for organizational improvement, she helps businesses, governmental entities, universities, and non-profit organizations ask and answer the hard questions, create a course of action that is all about improvement, and find ways to ensure the long-term health and vitality of their systems.
Ms. Paradis was in government service as a park and recreation director for 25 years and has spoken at dozens of local, state and national venues on a variety of topics in the health, wellness, parks and recreation and business fields, she has been a featured guest on both local and national radio and has published several industry articles in national publications and is the founder of Agents of Change, an organization of thought leaders who promote, support and implement positive change by engaging in unique problem solving approaches to the challenges in public park and recreation. She brings her excitement and passion to organizations nationwide in her role as a speaker, facilitator, trainer, business and organizational consultant. Ms. Paradis earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Government and a Master of Business Administration from University of Massachusetts
Founder and Chair of the Board, 8 80 Cities; Chair of the Board, World Urban Parks
Gil Peñalosa is passionate about cities for all people. He advises decision makers and communities on how to create vibrant cities and healthy communities for everyone regardless of social, economic or ethnic background. His focus is on the design and use of parks and streets as great public places, as well as sustainable mobility: walking, cycling and public transit. Peñalosa is the founder and chair of the board of the internationally recognized nonprofit organization 8 80 Cities. Peñalosa also runs his own international consulting firm, Gil Peñalosa & Associates, and is an accomplished presenter and keynote speaker.
Dr. Kevin Riley
Professor of Parks and Recreation, Henderson State University
Dr. Kevin Riley is an assistant professor of recreation — natural resource management at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. During his 14 years as a college professor, he has taught more than 20 different recreation courses at four different universities. Currently, his research interests include recreational art programs and linking technology to recreation. His work has been published in NRPA’s Parks & Recreation magazine and its journals. He has also delivered several presentations at NRPA’s Annual Conferences.
Sr. 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.
Dr. Shonnda Smith, CPRP, AFO
Former Chief Programming Officer at New Orleans Recreation Development Commission Most recently, during her 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.
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.
Sr. 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.