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National Association of State Park Foundations

2023 Annual Conference Session Descriptions

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Opening Plenary – Forming Deep Connections through Creativity and Storytelling: Mike Brown

The opening keynote will set the stage for everyone to successfully develop their innate creativity to imagine new and compelling stories. The interactive talk shares concepts and tools participants can use during the conference and beyond to maximize their storytelling potential. Specific topics include highlighting the beneficial connection between creativity and storytelling, using it to engage and inspire audiences; sharing readily accessible techniques that stimulate creativity (and story ideas) from everyone; unfolding a framework that efficiently extends stories across storytelling formats; and discussing how imagination, innovation, and experimentation lead to engaging stories.

Florida Greener Initiative: Julia Gill Woodward and Tammy Gustafson

The Florida State Parks Foundation’s Greener Initiative is designed to expand environmentally friendly practices in state parks, reduce parks’ energy-related expenses and encourage park visitors to make environmentally conscious decisions in the parks and at home. Ms. Woodward will discuss how they are incorporating environmental stewardship as one of the Foundation’s top priorities and how other states can replicate these efforts in their park system.

Forming Unique Partnerships: Marci Mowery and Damon Kirkpatrick

Look beyond traditional partnerships to find new ways to fund projects with your state park and forests system. Marci will speak to Pennsylvania’s experiences working with the craft beverage industry while Damon will speak to their work with retailers and the Leave No Trace Foundation. Time will be available to share your state’s experiences as well.

State Parks within a National Network of Old-Growth Forests: Sarah Adloo, PhD

The Old-Growth Forest Network is creating a national network of protected, publicly-accessible mature and old-growth forests for the benefit of current and future generations. Learn about the importance of older forests for biodiversity, climate, and human well-being and how a park in your state may be able to gain this recognition.

Wednesday, September 13

Overcoming Burnout through Mindfulness and Yoga: Charlene Hammersen

Join us as we discuss overcoming burnout, explore practical ways to do yoga at your desk, and end with a guided meditation. Experiencing burnout can be frustrating and can zap your energy, breed cynicism toward your work, and diminish your motivation to meet obligations. If you experience any of this, know that you're not alone. We will discuss ways to see signs of burnout and overcoming these challenges to empower your own career path. We will then segue into a yoga practice from your chair! Yes, your chair. We will explore practical ways to bring the yoga practice to our workspace for those busy days/lives. We will also explore several breathing techniques that can help to reduce stress/anxiety, reawaken the senses by energizing the self, along with regulating the nervous system so that we can bring the mind/body back to balance. We will finalize our practice in a short, guided meditation that will help to cultivate equanimity, clarity, and peace.

Panel Discussion - Bringing All-Terrain Wheelchairs to Your Park System: Seth Miller, Michelle O’Kelly, and Melanie Dunn

Three panelists will discuss different elements of bringing all-terrain wheelchairs into their park system, from overcoming bureaucracy issues to finding funding to finding organizations willing to host and store the equipment for you. Learn from these lessons so you can bring a similar effort to your state.

Fad or Renaissance? Motivational and Demographic Characteristics of United States Forest Service Recreationists Before, During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic: Chase Perrin

This study explored the socio-demographic composition, motivations, and barriers of visitors who increased, decreased, or stayed consistent in their outdoor recreation participation during the COVID- 19 pandemic and if these trends will remain or fade one year later as COVID-19-related restrictions lift. The case study included visitors to the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests in Western North Carolina and implications for public land managers to navigate these trends.

Thursday, September 14

Simplified Fundraising Planning for Small Nonprofits: Chad Barger

Join fundraising master trainer, Chad Barger, CFRE, for a workshop covering fundraising planning. We’ll cover some of the biggest mistakes that nonprofit organizations make when putting together their annual fundraising plan and how to avoid them. Processes and tools will be shared which pare the planning process down to its simplest form. Attendees leave with actionable steps that they can take to make their organization’s planning process more effective and efficient

Closing Session - Telling Your Stories Back Home: Mike Brown

The storytelling can’t start and stop at the conference: participants need inspiration and next steps to communicate and implement their learning within their parks and teams. In this closing keynote, we’ll bring all the tools and insights together to inspire action and impact. Specific topics include: Fully using the opportunities that digital tools and platforms create to enhance storytelling in state parks and reach wider audiences; Activating staff, volunteers, and visitors to comfortably share the stories that only they experience; Crafting stories with varied topics and formats into an actionable yearly calendar that coordinates themes and messages for every audience; and Recharging familiar stories and storytellers to keep your messages fresh and engaging.

Thanks for joining us! See you next year!
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