2024 Park Management Institute

Annual Park Management Institute

Thursday, February 15, 2024
8:00 AM (EST)
to Friday, February 16, 2024 at 4:30 PM (EST)
Category: Signature Events


Want to sponsor this event? Download the form here.

The Parks and Recreation profession has been at a crossroads for several years.  What is apparent is the evidence that suggests that what differentiates our profession from those who claim to provide similar services, is the environment in which we exist – our parks, our open spaces, our natural areas, our town squares, and streets.  It is these spaces in our public realm which create the quality environments in which residents choose to live, work and play; and to which millions of visitors are drawn each year in the State of Florida.

The appropriate management of these areas by trained professionals is perhaps the first line of defense in the protection of these spaces and the appropriate use of them, in order to protect them for years to come. 

FRPA’s Park Management Institute is an intensive and comprehensive learning journey appropriate for those responsible for senior level leadership in the Parks area. 


Day One -
7:00-7:45am  | Registration and Breakfast

8:00-8:30am | Welcome and Introductions
FRPA and Marion County

Partnership Success
Nicky Aiken, Asst. Park Manager, Silver Springs State Park
Discussion of how partnerships with concessions, volunteers, agencies, and the community

Florida’s Oldest Tourist Attraction
Nicky Aiken, Asst. Park Manager, Silver Springs State Park
Learn about the Silver River through Time and how humans have connected to the precious waters for thousands of years.

Interpretation of Historic Resources
Randolph Ferris, Natural Resources Superintendent, Clay Co Parks and Recreation
Historical resources can be found in all parks and recreation facilities, even brand-new ones. Using methods taught by the National Association of Interpretation allows programmers to bring these to guests, whether it be buildings, events that took place on a site, or the ancient history of an area, or the life of a person that lived there. 

Playgrounds: They Are Not Child’s Play
Charles Ryan, Park Operations Manager, Marion Co Parks & Recreation
This class will discuss the key components when planning a playground; knowing your audience, budget and funding (purchasing contracts, grants, repair/replacement budgeting), choosing the right location, components (surfacing, shade structures, accessibility etc.), and choosing the right maintenance program.

Proper Irrigation on Sports Fields
Kirk Robinson, Irrigation Technician, Marion Co Parks & Recreation  
This class will discuss irrigation efficiency using matched precipitation, application rate, evapotranspiration rate, and Cycle/Soak to meet the irrigation requirements of sports turf.

12:00-1:00pm | LUNCH

Burn It To the Ground
Mickey Thomason, Park Manager IV Cross Florida Greenway, Florida State Park Service
This session will focus on the why/when/where/ and how we apply and use the extremely important tool of Prescribed Fire safely when managing natural lands that are in Florida’s fire dependent and tolerant natural communities. A fire demonstration will be included at the end of this presentation -weather dependent.

 Chew on This: Foodscapes
Amanda Marek, Florida-Friendly Landscaping Agent, UF/IFAS Extension Marion County
Mark Bailey, Sustainable Agriculture Agent, UF/IFAS Extension Marion County
If you have landscaping, why not make it edible? Foodscaping is the combination of edible plants with ornamentals. After planting and maintaining our Florida-friendly edible demonstration garden for 3 years, we want to share with you the pros, cons, and how-tos to install your own public or private foodscape.

Preserving History: A National Historic Landmark
Bill Rodriguez, Parks Division Head, Ocala Recreation and Parks
Samantha Jarvis, Outdoor/Historic Resource Archeologist, Ocala Recreation and Parks
Engage the public to become champions of your projects. Build relationships that will grow and support your project while preserving and educating your community on its rich history. Learn how to navigate the sensitive subject of history in your parks.

The Future of Sustainable Water Management 
Gabriela Sullivan, Water Conservation Coordinator, City of Ocala – Water Resources
Parks have a variety of functions from recreation space to wildlife habitat. What if parks could do more? Take a tour of the Ocala Wetland Recharge Park, a 60-acre constructed wetland designed to recharge the Upper Floridan Aquifer, to see how parks can help make every drop of water count.  

Day Two -
7:00-8:45am  | Registration and Breakfast

8:00-8:30am | Welcome Back
FRPA and Marion County

Resource Management: Natural & Cultural
Nicky Aiken, Asst. Park Manager, Silver Springs State Park
Discuss how a Park can incorporate their own natural and cultural resources into the Park plan.

Glass Bottom Boat Tour
Nicky Aiken, Asst. Park Manager, Silver Springs State Park
Come aboard the Famous Glass Bottom Boat and take a tour with a Boat Captain around some of the Silver River while learning about historical and natural features.   

See, What Had Happened Was…
Jessica Neal Majoros, Recreation Manager, Marion Co Parks & Recreation
Are you operating by begging for forgiveness versus asking permission? Are you hesitant to try anything new because you think the answer is already, No? Find out ways to advocate for fun!

Campground Management in Parks
Randolph Ferris, Natural Resources Superintendent, Clay Co Parks and Recreation
This session is to help attendees understand the day-to-day operations of different levels of campground operations in public parks.  Covered will be full service RV parks, non-RV parks with tents and cabin sites, primitive parks with hike-in camping, and the latest trend luxury camping, or glamping.

The Other Side of the Table: Internal Interviewing
Kelsey Mears, CPRP, Assistant Director, Marion Co Parks & Recreation
Charles Ryan, Park Operations Manager, Marion Co Parks & Recreation
Internal interviewing is not fun and can be very stressful. Learn resume and interviewing practices that can help you prepare and hone your skills to standout in your next interview. Don’t sell yourself short, you know the job!

Field of Social Media
Sara Lambert, Community Engagement Coordinator, Marion Co Parks & Recreation
This class will explain the importance of visual (photos and videos) aids in promoting parks, facilities, and programs via social media and how field staff are some of the best at capturing these images.

Preserving a Legacy: Norm Westbrook Park
Joey Amodo, Parks Designer, Marion Co Parks & Recreation
This session will cover how parks and recreation goes from the concept to the opening of Norm Westbrook Park. Norm Westbrook donated 100 acres of land to the County to become a future park, upon his passing. You will learn the step by step of planning, design, and construction phases of this park.

Hello, My Name Is: Welcoming New Staff Aboard
Keara Huebner, Administrative Staff Assistant, Marion Co Parks & Recreation
Learn the importance of welcoming new employees from day one by immersing them in to your department and culture. This session will discuss how to help new staff members settle into their workplace by ensuring they have the tools they need to be successful.

12:00-1:00pm | LUNCH

Parks & Recreation’s Role in Tourism
Corry Locke, STS, Groups Sales Manager, Ocala/Marion County Visitors and Convention Bureau
This session will cover how Parks and Recreation impacts its local tourism economy.  Reviewing a case study on the 2023 Cal Ripken World Series, you will learn how to work with your local Convention and Visitors Bureau to take advantage of their tourism funding to assist in bringing tournaments and events to your community.

2:30-3:00pm  | Wrap Up and CEU Certificates


Hotel information for overnight accommodations

Comfort Suites Ocala North
3825 NW Blitchton Road, Ocala, FL 34475
(352) 482-0800
$109 per night + tax - Inform of tax exempt upon booking.  The group hold expires 1/26/24.  After that, any rooms will be on a first come first serve basis.  LINK

Holiday Inn Express & Suites
3580 SW 38th Ave, Ocala, Florida 34474
Reservations (877) 622-5211 or (352) 390-6999 - Block Code - FRP 
Standard King or Two Queen - $159+ tax - Inform of tax exempt upon booking. Cancellation policy: 72 hours prior to check-in   
Hotel amenities: highspeed Wi-Fi, Business Center, complimentary hot breakfast, Fitness Center, Outdoor Pool (not heated), complimentary parking The group hold expires 1/14/24. LINK


Registration/Cancellation Policies