2018 GP RED Think Tank



Contact Teresa Penbrooke, PhD. for more information

GP RED National Think Tanks

Since 2008, GP RED Think Tanks have provided an opportunity to engage with national thought leaders in the fields of parks, recreation, conservation, trails, land management, public health, tourism, alternative transportation, and the related associations and educators that support and serve them.

GP RED’s involvement with non-profit associations, academics, and practitioners in a variety of fields reveals gaps in trans-disciplinary sharing. Professionals in the fields of public parks and recreation, public health, transportation, academia, and professional planning practice struggle to integrate their work due, in part, to lack of a common language. The purpose of the Think Tank is to improve multi-sector communication and information sharing.

The GP RED Think Tank is an invitational, interactive event. Each session consists of a 20 minute thought leader presentation, 20 minutes of facilitated Q & A, and 30 minute breakouts to discuss innovations & solutions on the topic, followed by open networking. Abstracts for each session will be created by invited Content Experts, and presentation materials will be provided electronically to all attendees.

The next GP RED Think Tank will be held in 2018 at a location to be determined. Please think about joining us.

“Thank you so much for the opportunity. It keeps me motivated, fuels my passion, and keeps me moving forward.” 2016 Think Tank Participant

Purpose of the Think Tank

Through GP RED’s involvement with other non-profit trade associations, colleagues in the academic realm, and practitioners in a variety of fields, it has become apparent that there is a gap in the sharing of best practices and standardization of language for trans-disciplinary planning, management, and agency leadership specifically related to the integration of public parks and recreation, open space and trails, public health, transportation, universities, and professional planning practices. The GP RED Think Tank is a forum for national topic experts to share research, innovations, and thought-provoking ideas in a series of eight dynamic RED TALKS, followed by interactive discussion. They are intended to provide both professional and personal development. Conversations that matter with experts from around the nation will provide an opportunity for investment in your own growth even if your agency will not fund attendance.

Dynamic Facilitation

The GP RED Think Tank is a dynamic facilitated forum designed to foster knowledge growth, networking, and improved professional competencies to engage agencies and professionals at the local, state, academic, and federal level to promote exchange through their related associations. Many of the current practices within these various disciplines are dealing with the same issues, but using different terminology and processes to address:

  • Scarcity in capital and operational funding for assets management and programs.
  • Changes in technology and research.
  • Need to position agencies or universities beyond program and/or land management focuses areas to those related to tourism, health, social equity, active transportation, and environmental benefits.
  • Encouragement to justify appropriate cost recovery, resource allocation, and self-sufficiency in budget hearings at any level.
  • Strong needs to “speak the same language” across disciplines and professional sectors.

There are many related national and state associations that serve the parks, recreation, land management, and public health disciplines, each with their own target membership market, niche, language and methodologies. As associations and universities have scaled back on services, there are large gaps emerging. At the same time, innovative methodologies, technologies, and practices are ever-evolving.

GP RED is intentionally not a membership-based organization, and aims to foster exchange and facilitate consensus on standardizing and identifying best practices at all levels to help support funders, decision makers, and the public we all directly or indirectly serve – to fill the gaps.

Past GP RED Think Tanks

  • 2016– Annapolis, Maryland
  • 2014– Estes Park, Colorado
  • 2012 – Denver, Colorado
  • 2008 – Louisville, Colorado

2016 GP RED National Think Tank
Annapolis, Maryland

One of the highlights of the year was the incredibly successful fourth GP RED National Think Tank convened in Annapolis, MD in November, with the help of Maryland Recreation & Parks Association. The energy, enthusiasm, and inspiration generated by this gathering of great minds will be carried forward through an upcoming summary Research Brief, as well as the newsletter and other venues.

Click Here for more information

2014  GP RED National Think Tank
Estes Park, Colorado

The GP RED Think Tank in Estes Park, CO was a great success with more than 40 great minds gathering to share knowledge and best practices in parks & recreation, public health, and land management. We are pleased to share the many thought-provoking presentations provided by our national content experts (click on SlideShare link to view presentations (Please credit GP RED Think Tank when using the slides).

2014 GP RED Invitational Think Tank Presentations (PDF)

Connecting the Dots: Integration and Connections for Progress
Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria for Destinations
Progress, Not Perfection – Thriving During Stress
To The Rescue! Parks and Recreation in Disaster

Handouts are also available from the 2014 GP RED Think Tank (PDF):


2012  GP RED National Think Tank
Denver, Colorado

In July 2012, a group of professions in the fields of public health, parks, trails, recreation, sustainability, community building, planning, transportation, and academic research met to discuss current issues and associated best practices for building whole and healthy communities. The theme, Creating Whole Communities, featured presentations addressing the building blocks for positive change in community obesity, health, physical activity, recreation and economics.

2012 GP RED Invitational Think Tank Powerpoints via SlideShare

Nature Deficit Disorder: Research, Trends & Hopeful Signs SlideShare Link
The Vital Role of the Built Environment SlideShare Link
National Wildlife Federation Be Out There SlideShare Link
Return on Investment and Accountability SlideShare Link
Trends in Active Transportation SlideShare Link
Telling The Story SlideShare Link

Click here for a compilation of the 2012 Featured Viewpoints

2008  GP RED National Think Tank
Louisville, Colorado

In November of 2008, GP RED held their first gathering of leading parks and recreation professionals and academicians from around the nation. These notable attendees discussed a series of contemporary management issues and associated best practices, and assessed their validity, merit, and implementation/education tactics. The two-day discussion and workshop was held in beautiful Louisville, Colorado (between Denver and Boulder).

Click here for a compilation of the 2008 Featured Viewpoints