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Open Space Radio is the official podcast of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) — Because everyone deserves a great park.

Open Space Radio is the official podcast of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) — Because everyone deserves a great park.
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Open Space Radio is the official podcast of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) — Because everyone deserves a great park.




What Are Your Park and Rec Pet Peeves? — Episode 029

On today’s episode, we’re talking about pet peeves. We know how much passion you have for your communities and careers as park and recreation professionals, but we also know that there’s always that one thing that continues to irk you. On our 25th episode, we asked you to let us know some of the things that you deal with in your career in parks and recreation that really annoy you, and you answered the call. We met up with a few of our listeners at the 2018 NRPA Annual Conference in...


Does Our Built Environment Impact Our Health Behaviors? — Episode 028

On today's episode of Open Space Radio, we’re joined by Aaron Hipp, an Associate Professor of Community Health and Sustainability at NC State University’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management. Aaron is currently conducting research on topics such as how, where, and why our public built environments impact health behaviors such as physical activity and recreation, and the effect of the environment where we spend most of our time, such as work, school and sleep, on leisure...


What Does It Take to Raise the Bar in Parks and Rec? — Episode 27

In this episode, we sit down with Becky Dunlap, a passionate park and recreation professional and advocate, to hear about how she ended up in a career in the field she loves so much without even realizing it. Becky is a Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP) and a Project Consultant for GreenPlay, LLC, where she travels to local parks and rec around the country to help them create a vision for their communities. Becky is also the host of the podcast Becky Talks Parks, which is...


Universal Recreation: Meh or Magnificent? — Episode 026

In our 25th episode, we invited you to send us your ideas for future podcast episodes. Lucky for us, Jessica Cannaday, CPRP, Marketing and Communications Manager with Oak Brook Park District, sent in an idea to cover universal recreation. Universal recreation is the philosophy driving Oak Brook Park District – the idea that park and recreation facilities and programs should be open and welcome to all. In addition to an inclusive family locker room and specialty programming, the department...


Celebrating Our 25th Episode: Why We Love Park & Rec Pros — Episode 025

Happy 25th episode! This is a huge milestone for Open Space Radio, and we recently hit another milestone — we surpassed 10,000 downloads of the show! Thank YOU for listening and joining us on this journey! In this episode, we reflect on some of our favorite past episodes and discuss what we love about park and recreation professionals. The passion that park and rec professionals have for what they do is unparalleled — it amazes us every single day — so naturally, we wanted to scream it...


How Risk Play Can Benefit Kids — Episode 024

On today's episode, we chat with Tom Norquist, president of the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA), about how risk and adventure play is stepping back into the limelight and can help kids' independence and creativity. Typically, when we think about play, the idea of risk or danger may be a little scary, especially if we’re talking about children playing. However, this kind of unstructured, hands on, risk play is making a comeback. Taking a risk and coming out...


Parks and Rec Brings the Fun — Episode 023

On today’s episode, we’re talking with Peter Kageyama, one of the 2018 NRPA Annual Conference keynote speakers. Kageyama is an author, whose book For the Love of Cities: The Love Affair Between People and Their Places was recognized in 2012 as a Top 10 Book in urban planning, design and development. He is an internationally sought-after community development consultant and grassroots engagement strategist who is passionate about bottom-up community development and the people who are making...


Celebrating "A Lifetime of Discovery!" — Episode 022

Park and Recreation Month is right around the corner, and we’re super excited to celebrate with you all in a few days. As many of you already know, the theme this year is A Lifetime of Discovery, and we’re challenging everyone to explore the undiscovered roles and offerings of their local parks and recreation. Things like STEM programming, innovative health and wellness opportunities, programs for older adults, conservation efforts, the list just goes on. One of our newer supporters of...


How Parks and Rec Served Over 85 Million Meals — Episode 021

On today's episode, we're talking about the importance of summer meal programs and the impact that parks and recreation is making in communities across the country through the Summer Food Service Program. We're joined by Allison Colman, NRPA's health and wellness program manager. Allison oversees NRPA's out-of-school time portfolio, including the Commit to Health campaign and our work on the USDA Child Nutrition Programs. We also speak with Colleen Lammel-Harmon, Chicago Park District's...


Parks and Rec is Transforming the Lives of Older Adults (and Vice Versa) — Episode 020

May is Older Americans Month and park and recreation agencies play a crucial role in serving older adult populations. According to NRPA’s 2018 Agency Performance Review, 41 percent of park and recreation agencies have one or more senior centers and 79 percent offer programs specifically designed for older adults. NRPA supports this work through our Healthy Aging in Parks initiative — part of which includes a grant program for evidence-based arthritis intervention programs which are...


The Great NRPA Owl Rescue — Episode 019

Last Monday evening, a group of Boy Scouts were on the trail behind NRPA's headquarters when they came upon a baby Barred Owl who had appeared to have fallen from its nest more than 40-feet up in the trees. They contacted Ted Mattingly, NRPA’s resident hero and Director of Facilities and Administrative Services, who realized that the baby owl’s chances of surviving on its own after falling from the nest were slim. He decided to take matters into his own hands and brought the baby owl...


What Do Dream Parks Look Like to Kids? — Episode 018

The nation’s largest STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) celebration took place this past weekend at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The 5th USA Science and Engineering Festival featured more than 3,000 exhibits, 30 stage shows and attracted approximately 350,000 people. This year’s theme was “Where can STEM take you?” and the primary goal of the weekend was to inspire the thousands of kids in attendance. The hands-on festivities of the...


Parks and Recreation in a Digital World — Episode 017

On today’s episode, we’re discussing a new research report titled “From Green Space to Digital Place.” The report takes a look at smart city strategies and how cities are capitalizing on technological advances. When cities are looking at their budgets and identifying key areas for investment, parks and recreation are often put on the back-burner even though they are such an essential element to a thriving community. This report looks at the public interest in park and recreation services,...


How to Improve Your Cardiovascular Health and #MoveWithHeart — Episode 016

It’s February — the month of love. People everywhere are rushing through Hallmark stores and florists to get their significant others heartfelt cards, flowers and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates. Although showing your loved ones that you care every day is important — not just on Valentine’s day — perhaps more important is making sure that your own heart is healthy. February is American Heart Month, and we’re proud to partner with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI) The...


How the Rise of Technology Could Help Us Reclaim Our Paradise — Episode 015

Technology has changed the way we do pretty much everything in our daily lives. With technology-based transportation and convenience services such as Uber, Lyft, ZipCar, Instacart for groceries and Amazon for basically everything else, the ways people are getting around cities is changing drastically. These services dramatically reduce the need for people to use their personal vehicles, and this could mean a change in the future of land use in urban areas. In today’s episode, we chat with...


Why Everyone in San Francisco Lives Within a 10-Minute Walk to a Park — Episode 014

In today’s episode, we’re taking a look at a city and mayor who have done some incredible work when it comes to park access. The city is San Francisco, California. Unfortunately, since recording this podcast, we were saddened to hear that San Francisco’s Mayor Ed Lee tragically passed away unexpectedly. Mayor Lee was an extremely passionate advocate for San Francisco’s parks, and under his leadership, the city made park and recreation programs more accessible than ever to its citizens. In...


Mayor Hillary Schieve on Why Parks and Recreation is Vital to a Thriving Reno — Episode 013

Mayor Hillary Schieve is one of the more than 150 mayors across the U.S. who has signed on to the 10-Minute Walk Campaign — an effort between NRPA, the Trust for Public Land and the Urban Land Institute to ensure everyone has access to a park within a 10-minute walk of where they live, work and play. For Mayor Schieve, Reno’s parks and recreation isn’t just key to improving the quality of life for her residents, it’s vital to attracting and retaining quality businesses and solving some...


9 Minutes with 9-Year-Old Kedar on How to Save Pollinators — Episode 012

NRPA has always been a champion for pollinators, but in the past few years as bee and monarch populations have seen scary rates of decline, we’ve stepped up our involvement in helping to save pollinators — not only through local parks and recreation, but at our headquarters and through promoting ways we all can play a small part in saving these critical critters. (You can check out our Pollination Across the Nation poster here.) As part of this pursuit, we support the Million Pollinator...


5 Healthy Out-of-School Time Myths Busted — Episode 011

In today’s episode, we chat with Ava DeBovis and Daniel Hatcher from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. The Alliance works with NRPA on Commit to Health — our program to increase healthy eating and physical activity during out-of-school time programs managed by park and recreation departments. Ava and Daniel address common barriers park and recreation staff may feel when attempting to create healthier out-of-school time and provide easy and practical solutions for overcoming them....


Why 3 National Orgs Came Together to Promote Proximity to Parks — Episode 010

On October 10, 2017, the Trust for Public Land (TPL), the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and the Urban Land Institute (ULI) came together to launch a campaign called 10-Minute Walk. The 10 Minute Walk campaign concept is simple — every should have access to parks within a 10-minute walk of where they live, work and play. To date, over 140 mayors have signed on to the 10-Minute Walk campaign. They’ve signed on because they recognize that proximity and accessibility to...