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Open Space Radio: Parks and Recreation Trends


Mar 9, 2021

When this episode airs on March 9, 2021, we will be two days away from the one-year anniversary of coronavirus (COVID-19) being declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. The past year has been filled with challenges, adaptations, pivots and so much more. We’re battling multiple health crises on top of economic pressures and racial injustices. And through it all, park and recreation professionals have come together in service of their communities, including taking on new roles and providing essential pandemic response services, while also continuing to deliver their already-life saving services and programs.

The work hasn’t been easy, and we know professionals are facing their own mental health issues while they continue to support equity, resiliency and health efforts for the people they serve. To chat about what the past year has meant to park and recreation professionals and to discuss where we go from here, we are thrilled to welcome Jesús Aguirre, NRPA Board Member and superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation. Jesús joined us almost exactly a year ago as we explored what effects COVID-19 was already having in parts of the country like Seattle as well as what we thought the year would bring. Also joining us is Allison Colman, NRPA’s Director of Health, who has led much of the COVID-19 response and content creation for NRPA.

Tune in to the full episode below to learn about the impact COVID-19 has had on parks and recreation from Jesús and Allison’s perspectives, as well as:

  • Some of the main challenges that park and recreation professionals have faced during the pandemic and how they’re trying to address them.
  • How COVID-19 has uncovered the disparities in our society, as well as in parks and recreation, and what kinds of guidance has been provided to reduce these disparities.
  • What kinds of opportunities have arisen due to the pandemic that could change the future of parks and recreation.
  • The stories of resilience that have stuck out to Jesús and Allison over the past year.
  • How the upcoming COVID-19 and Parks and Recreation: Response and Recovery report, along with the corresponding communications toolkit, COVID-19 and Parks and Recreation: Making the Case for the Future, will assist in educating decision-makers about the essential nature of parks and recreation, and more!

For more information about NRPA’s response to COVID-19, as well as available resources for park and recreation professionals, please see our Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) webpage.