Were Parks and Recreation Essential to Communities During COVID-19?
PRPS & Penn State Local Officials Study Update
PRPS is working with Penn State to complete a study that assesses local officials’ views and perspectives regarding local park and recreation services. Earlier this year, we requested your feedback for the study via an online survey. The survey focused on topics such as funding/financing of parks and recreation, experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. The study is nearly complete, here are some of the latest insights…
Parks and recreation are an essential community service. This mantra was often repeated during the COVID-19 pandemic with evidence to back this claim. For example, a statewide study conducted by Penn State on behalf of PRPS found that a majority of Pennsylvanians (54%) agreed that local parks and recreation were an essential community service through the pandemic. When asked why parks were essential, people reported them as providing free and accessible places for connecting with nature, safely being near or around others, reducing stress and anxiety, and engaging in physical activity.
However, a sizable number of Pennsylvanians disagreed (17%) with or were indifferent (29%) to the notion of parks as being an essential service. For parks and recreation to be more universally effective, it is important to know why. A lack of access (whether by distance, closures), poor perceptions of park maintenance/policies (unsanitary park conditions or lax enforcement of health guidelines), and lack of communication were the main reasons that parks were not perceived as essential during the early months of the pandemic.
Was parks and recreation perceived as essential to your community during COVID-19? Why or why not?While public sentiment is high, how do your local officials – those who make policy/budget decisions – feel? What were their opinions and decisions toward parks and recreation through the pandemic. Our next post explores this issue and presents findings from the 2022 PRPS local officials study. Stay tuned.
Register for the 2022 NRPA Annual Conference Now and Save
The 2022 NRPA Annual Conference is taking place in Phoenix this September 20-22. Join your peers for energetic networking activities, inspirational education sessions and an inside look at the most innovative products in the field. You are guaranteed to leave with new ideas and best practices that will help reduce operational costs, increase efficiencies and build value for your community. This year, budgets matter more than ever, so save big by registering before the Early Bird deadline on August 5. Register Today.
PA Colleges and Universities Offering Park, Recreation and Related Majors Now Live on Website
You can now view the listing of park and recreation majors from 14 Colleges and Universities in PA on the PRPS website: www.prps.org/schools.
Now Open: Water and the Environment Grant Program
Application period ends Jun. 30; Grant Decisions By: Aug. 15
This grant program seeks to fund projects focused on clean water, conservation, environmental education, climate variability, and water-based recreation. Examples include programs that improve, restore or protect watersheds/water quality; promote water conservation; and/or improve equitable access to water-based recreation in underserved communities. Other examples include environmental projects that seek to educate, inform and advance environmental issues to preserve and protect natural resources. Due to the volume of grant applications received, each application is evaluated on a competitive basis as we strive to fund programs with a strong impact and measurable outcomes within the funding priorities. Before applying for a grant, it is recommended you learn more about American Water Charitable Foundation, eligibility, how grant decisions are made and the scoring evaluation process by visiting here.
TRI Call for Proposals ends June 30
The Therapeutic Recreation Institute (TRI) will be held in-person on October 5-7 in State College, PA. Back in Action is our theme for this year’s TRI and we welcome proposals that help our professionals learn, innovate and thrive.
Upcoming Park Maintenance Institute Shop Talk
Overlap of Pollinator Conservation & Pest Management (.1 CEU)
Tuesday, June 28, 2022
Join us next Tuesday to learn about land management techniques that support invertebrates, with rippling effects that promote larger wildlife such as birds. Participants will hear about the threats to invertebrates and the steps to address these threats in our communities.
Participants will gain an understanding of how bees and other invertebrates can be exposed to pesticides and the techniques to minimize pesticide risk to these non-target organisms. Attendees will learn how pollinator and beneficial insect habitat can be created “from scratch” or using more casual, more affordable management techniques such as “rotational delayed mowing.”
PRPS Events & Roundtables
- PMI Shop Talk: Overlap of Pollinator Conservation and Pest Management (June 28)
- PMI Shop Talk: Sustainable Operations (July 14)
- Park & Recreation Professionals Day (July 15)
- Directors & Supervisors Roundtable (DSR) (August 24)
- Healthy Lands Week (Sept 24-Oct 2) more details coming soon!
- D3 Golf Tournament (Sept 30)
- Fall Pool Workshops coming soon!Visit our Calendar! Feel free to share!
- Rivers Month (June)
- PA Downtown Center Conference (June 26-29)
- Park & Recreation Month (July)
- The Economic Impacts of Outdoor Recreation, A Conversation with Nathan Reigner (July 19)
- International Rangers Day (Jul 31)
- Park Foundation School (August 21-25)Leave No Trace Trainer Course (Sept 15-16)