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Former Park Service Chief Fran P. Mainella Addresses Recreation Conference

Former Park Service Chief Fran P. Mainella Addresses Recreation Conference


Fran P. Mainella, who was the first female superintendant to lead the National Park Service, will deliver the prestigious Metcalf Endowment Lecture at this year’s 59th annual SUNY Cortland Recreation Conference from Nov. 5-6 at the College.

Mainella, currently a visiting scholar at Clemson University’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management Department, will discuss “National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 6, in the Corey Union Function Room. The lecture is free and open to the public.

“Re-GREEN-ation” is the theme of the two-day gathering, the nation’s oldest continuous collegiate-sponsored recreation education conference. Sponsored by the College’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Leisure Studies, the conference receives additional support for its Metcalf Lecture from the Metcalf Endowment.

“The concept we are trying to convey is a ‘go green’ premise, where we are doing our best to promote, as well as practice this notion,” said conference advisor Edward Hill, assistant professor of recreation, parks and leisure studies. “We are delighted to say that we have been able to cut costs without cutting corners. The conference committee and I have developed a functional Website containing the brochure, schedules and printable registration forms. In addition, we have used our valuable resources to create our own brochure, rather than outsourcing. We have taken these ‘eco’-nomically friendly measures in hopes that it will be a great stepping stone for future conference planners.”

Registration begins at 7 a.m. on Thursday and 7 a.m. on Friday at Corey Union. The fee is $100 for professionals and $45 for students to attend both days; and $70 for professionals to attend Thursday or Friday only. The additional cost to receive Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits is $8. The registration fee includes meals and entertainment. Additional information may be obtained by calling (607) 753-4939, by e-mailing or online at, where the brochure and registration form may be viewed or printed.

Approximately 300 recreation professionals and college recreation majors are expected to participate in the conference, which will offer more than 30 educational sessions and practical workshops on recreation management, therapeutic recreation, outdoor recreation, environmental education, and leisure and society. New to the conference this year is a research symposium and a few pre- and post-conference workshops.

Cortland alumni presenting at this year’s conference include Thomas Goodale ’61, Richard Fabend ’65, John Silsby ’69, Katharine Pawelko ’74, Fred Von Mechow ’77, Todd Miner ’82, Janet Barry Connolly ’84, Eddie Hill ’86, John La Rue ’89, Rickie McClure ’90, David Peppel ’97, Corey Ryon ’99, Scott Catucci ’00 and Brandy Boden ’07.

The event is planned and directed by SUNY Cortland recreation and leisure studies majors in the Special Events Planning class taught by Hill. The students and the committees they chair include:

• Kelly Stahl of Cortland, N.Y., conference co-chair and program coordinator;
• Lindsey Brown of Manopac, N.Y., conference co-chair, registration and tracking, treasurer, program coordinator and support, and office manager;
• Jenny Rutledge of Cattaraugus, N.Y., marketing, public relations and volunteer coordinator;
• Kristine Gauthier of Syracuse, N.Y., social services and internal services;
• Kyle Peterson of Montrose, N.Y., internship fair coordinator;
• Erik Svensson of South Salem, N.Y., graphic design artist;
• Greg Kroohs of Putnam Valley, N.Y., special speakers; and,
• Allison Reyes of Guildford, N.Y., alumni newsletter.

Mainella completed nearly six years as the 16th director and the first woman to lead the National Park Service. Previously, she served 12 years as director of Florida’s state parks, which earned the Gold Medal Award as the country’s best state park system. Mainella also was executive director of the Florida Recreation and Park Association and president of both the National Recreation and Park Association and the National Association of State Park Directors.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a master’s degree and honorary doctorate from Central Connecticut State College.

Currently a member of Newsweek magazine’s Environmental Advisory Board, Mainella is a board member of the National Society for Park Resources (NSPR), a fellow of the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, a member of the Advisory Board for the Children and Nature Network, and a national speaker on parks and recreation.

Clemson University presented Mainella with its Walter T. Cox Award and also named an award in her honor that encourages women to pursue conservation careers. The American Recreation Coalition presented her with its Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award. She received the 2007 Pugsley Award, the highest award given by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration. In 2006, she was awarded the William Penn Mott Jr. Award for Excellence by the NSPR.