Browse and download best practice guides, briefing papers, case studies, issue briefs, toolkits, frameworks, and other resources related to NRPA's programs and initiatives.

Parks and Pollinators: Taking Action and Advancing Sustainability

Parks and Pollinators: Taking Action and Advancing SustainabilityNRPA’s Parks and Pollinators: Taking Action and Advancing Sustainability helps park professionals leverage their current efforts with native habitat and create plans that more effectively advance their goals with native habitat and sustainability efforts. In addition to data on the vital relationship between parks and pollinators, this resource provides tools to examine internal processes, ways you engage the community and how you build awareness of this work.

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Active Parks! Implementation Guide

Active Parks! Implementation Guide CoverPark and recreation and public health professionals play a role in ensuring all community members have equitable access to opportunities to get active. The Active Parks! Implementation Guide provides a step-by-step process for combining essential infrastructure with additional activities like community engagement, programming, public awareness and other access enhancements to increase the use of parks, trails and greenways for physical activity.

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SNAP and WIC Outreach Toolkit

NRPA developed the online toolkit — Supporting SNAP and WIC Outreach: A Toolkit for Park and Recreation Professionals — to provide information and resources park and recreation professionals need to make the case for integrating food assistance programs into their spaces. This toolkit compiles guidance, support and promising practices for professionals in the field to provide SNAP/WIC outreach directly to community members, connecting them to enrollment and retention assistance for increased access to affordable and healthy foods.

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Health Impact Evaluation Framework

NRPA’s Health Impact Evaluation Framework: Measuring the Process and Outcomes of Health and Wellness Programs helps local park and recreation agencies better measure the impact of their health and wellness programs and initiatives, by connecting agencies to a multitude of existing evaluation tools, data sources, data analysis, data collection tools and other resources. The framework will help agencies better evaluate the benefit of park and recreation health interventions and communicate this benefit more effectively to local-elected officials, members of the public and philanthropic supporters.

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Inclusive Healthy Places Companion Guide for Park and Recreation Professionals

The Inclusive Healthy Places Companion Guide for Park and Recreation Professionals helps park and recreation professionals create spaces where all people feel welcomed, respected, accommodated and safe. The guide provides methods for addressing systemic barriers in order to advance health equity in public spaces. It shares approaches to use drivers, indicators and metrics that inform the planning, design, development and evaluation of public spaces.

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Parks, Recreation and Healthcare: Partnerships to Advance Community Wellness Hubs

Park and recreation agencies have a unique opportunity to contribute to local food and nutrition systems by serving as Community Wellness Hubs. NRPA's Parks, Recreation and Healthcare: Partnerships to Advance Community Wellness Hubs outlines opportunities for park and recreation and healthcare organizations to partner to support food access and reduce barriers to the social determinants of health across communities. The resource guides you through five key building blocks when creating partnerships including preparing to partner; coordinating the partnership; developing an implementation plan; assessing the impact of the partnership; and identifying how to sustain the partnership.

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Parks and Recreation: Addressing Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Language Guide

This resource explains the harmful impact of stigmatizing language, provides key guidelines for how to talk about mental illness and substance use disorder with empathy, and provides a chart of language substitutions to replace common stigmatizing terms with more respectful language.

Suite of Resources: Addressing Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders in Parks and Recreation

NRPA also provides this suite of resources to help park and recreation professionals respond to the growing substance use and mental health crises: Parks and Recreation: A Comprehensive Response to the Substance Use Crisis; Parks and Recreation: Addressing Stigma Associated with Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders; and Parks and Recreation: Prevention Guide Addressing Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders

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Communications Toolkit: Promoting Your Park and Recreation Agency’s Youth Sports

Each day park and recreation professionals build important relationships with parents, caregivers and families in their communities to work toward a world in which every child can access park and recreation sponsored sports programs. All children — no matter their ability, age, gender identity, race, ethnicity, family income or interests — deserve a fun, safe place to play where they feel like they belong. Children who are enrolled in park and recreation-sponsored youth sports will be set up for success.

This data-backed communications toolkit is meant to help professionals in the field make these connections — as well as encourage parents and caregivers in their communities register their child for park and recreation youth sports programs.

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Engaging Diverse Groups in Building Community Resiliency Through Stewardship

As leaders in connecting communities to nature, it is vital that park and recreation professionals are inclusive and welcoming in their work. NRPA’s Engaging Diverse Groups in Building Community Resiliency through Stewardship will help professionals communicate about nature and natural resources thoughtfully with their community while building mutually beneficial diverse partnerships that focus on nature with equity at the forefront of their approach.



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Workforce Development: Resource Guide and Workbook

As one of the largest first-time employers, parks and recreation provides exposure to the field and first-time jobs to many youth and young adults. NRPA’s workforce development resources provide agencies with information to ensure they are creating intentional programs that benefit all community members, while building a sustainable workforce and communities for the future.

Workforce Development: A Resource Guide for Parks and Recreation features case studies highlighting programs dedicated to workforce development opportunities. The accompanying workbook, Workforce Development: Self-Guided Workbook for Parks and Recreation, helps agencies assess their current situation and opportunities for growth.


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Park and Recreation Professionals’ Guide to Fundraising

Fundraising can be daunting — NRPA’s comprehensive Park and Recreation Professionals’ Guide to Fundraising can help. This resource outlines strategies to diversify funding sources. It will walk you through establishing a fundraising team, developing your case for support, identifying and cultivating new donors, and pursuing innovative development strategies.



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Creating Equity-Based System Master Plans

Creating Equity-Based System Master Plans GuideA system-wide park master plan is a tool that can help us understand the history and current barriers to park access and set a vision and plan to remove these inequities and ensure parks and open space are providing the most benefit to communities. The resource provides four key tips in creating a system-wide park master plan, namely: internal assessment; community engagement; resource and data collection; and development of an implementation plan. It also includes helpful case studies for each of those four phases to give readers practical examples.


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Electronic Health Record Referral Process Guide

Electronic Health Record Referral Process GuideHealthcare organizations and community-based organizations like park and recreation agencies share a common goal: improving the health of their communities. The implementation of community integrated health strategies like referral processes in one way in which cross-sector partnerships can be developed. Download the Electronic Health Record Referral Process Guide to learn how to implement a referral process that can enhance awareness of and improve access to your programs and services and improve the health of the communities you serve.


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Community Engagement Resource Guide

Community Engagement Resource GuideLocal park and recreation agencies work diligently to ensure all people have access to and feel welcome in the places, programs and facilities that make their lives and communities great. Equitable and inclusive community engagement is central to this vision and is fundamental to establishing quality parks that meet the needs of all people.



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Best Practices Guide for Increasing Access to Healthy Foods through Innovative Approaches

Best Practices Guide for Increasing Access to Healthy Foods through Innovative ApproachesThe purpose of this guide is to highlight key strategies that park and recreation agencies can use in the implementation of three innovative program models to increase access to healthy foods — starting or expanding farmers markets or community supported agriculture, starting or expanding intergenerational programming and addressing transportation barriers.



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Parks for Inclusion Policy Guide

Parks for Inclusion Policy GuideNRPA has developed a set of resources designed to guide agencies in creating and implementing inclusive policies in local parks and recreation.




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Resource Guide for Planning, Designing and Implementing Green Infrastructure in Parks

A Resource Guide for Planning, Designing and Implementing Green Infrastructure in ParksThis guide draws on lessons learned from the Great Urban Park Campaign pilot projects and provides basic principles, inspiration and ideas that can help planners, designers and decision-makers equitably integrate green stormwater infrastructure into parks and park systems across the country.



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Financing Green Infrastructure Projects

Financing Green Infrastructure ProjectsThis briefing paper noted that after review of many municipal and regional green infrastructure stormwater management and implementation programs across the country, a primary measure of success is to plan and implement such projects based on a partnership model of multiple funding sources that combine local, federal/state, and private dollars.


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Safe Routes to Parks Resource Guide

Best Practice Guide for Out-of-School Time Meal Program Models and SustainabilityThe NRPA Safe Routes to Parks Resource Guide is intended to provide professionals (park and recreation and their allied professionals) with resources to support the implementation of the Safe Routes to Parks Action Framework.



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Making the Case: Parks and Health

Making the Case: Parks and HealthMaking the Case: Parks and Health is an easy-to-use resource to help park and recreation leaders make the case to elected officials that parks are a critical part of the community’s public health infrastructure.



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News Stories

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