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2018 GP REDLine Survey on Homelessness in Parks

March 2019 – The 2018 REDLine survey on Homelessness received 150 responses from throughout the United States. It was distributed by email to a GP RED maintained list of professionals including representatives from parks and recreation, public health, social services, planning and other related fields. The survey was designed to obtain current information on challenges posed by homeless individuals in public spaces, and to identify some of the initiatives that have been undertaken to address these conditions. Questions were intended to gather a broad understanding of some of the efforts occurring around the country, with a particular focus on parks, recreation and public health agencies. Several of the questions were also framed to allow comparison to questions that were asked previously as a part of the NRPA membership-based study, “Homelessness in Parks, 2018.

Survey results show some differences from those obtained through the NRPA Homelessness Survey of members. The survey finding that parks and recreation agencies are still considered to be relatively ineffective in their efforts, yet in a relatively high leadership role, is significant. Further, the survey provides guidance on other agencies that are viewed to be successful – schools, non-profits and faith-based entities. They represent some of the logical partners for successful cross-agency collaboration and coordination.

Clearly, the nature of homelessness problems requires efforts from a wide range of professionals and organizations. The survey findings suggest some of the logical champions for these efforts. And the results of the survey provide some metrics upon which the industry can measure progress over time.

Click Here to read the full survey.

GP RED Operating Board Names Donna Kuethe, CPRP, as Executive Director

February, 2019 – The GP RED Operating Board has appointed a new Executive Director, Donna Kuethe, CPRP. Ms. Kuethe has been a passionate park and recreation professional for almost 40 years. She has long served as the Recreation Director for the Town of Moultonborough, NH, leading growth in programming, capital facilities, and community initiatives. She has also been a tireless advocate, educator, and organizer at the local, state, and federal levels. She was the initial creator of the Operation Recreation Response (ORR) Project in New England, now a nationwide GP RED initiative, and previously served on the GP RED National Advisory Board.

Ms. Kuethe brings a wide variety of public parks and recreation experience, as well as a fierce passion for the power and impact of parks and recreation. Ms. Kuethe states, “I am really looking forward to helping to expand the work of GP RED, working with those committed to GP RED’s mission, and excited to be facilitating various projects, including the ORR initiative. It’s an honor to be a part of an organization that is committed to ‘helping the people who help communities thrive.”

Donna can be reached at



GreenPlay’s CEO Teresa Penbrooke finishes her PhD!

November, 2017 – Teresa L. Penbrooke, who founded GreenPlay in Colorado in 1999, has recently completed all requirements to receive her PhD in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management, through the College of Natural Resources at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Formal graduation takes place on December 15, 2017.

Penbrooke’s area of expertise is in research and teaching for parks and recreation management, outdoor recreation, health, and community systems planning. She has a BS in Kinesiology, and Masters in Organizational Management. She started her PhD studies at NCSU in January 2014, continuing to work full-time leading GreenPlay and contributing to GP RED, while she completed full-time studies and research/teaching assistantships for almost four years. Her doctoral dissertation is titled, Local Parks and Recreation Agencies Use of Systems Thinking to Address Preventive Health Factors. Her advisor was Michael B. Edwards, PhD, along with Jason N. Bocarro, PhD, Karla A. Henderson, PhD, and J. Aaron Hipp, PhD, as committee members. Her summary abstract and full dissertation can be obtained at

Going forward, Penbrooke plans to continue to help leading GreenPlay’s ever-growing consulting practice (over 450 projects so far! – see In addition, she hopes to help develop a graduate-level parks planning, design, and management certificate program for NCSU, teach and guest lecture for associations and universities, and continue research through GP RED (

Most of all, she is looking forward to combining all of these activities into working “only one full-time job,” leaving more time for her very supportive husband, family, friends, travel, writing, and personal re-creation of body, mind, and spirit. She can be reached at


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Preliminary Results of REDline Survey on Drones in Parks

A REDline Survey was conducted in the September of 2017. It was sent out to approximately 5,700 parks and recreation professionals. 92 surveys were returned so far. This survey is part of GP RED’s ongoing efforts to collect and share information of interest to practitioners in parks, recreation, and health. The survey is the first of three about technology and evolving equipment usage in parks and recreational spaces and facilities. The other two are on technology-based activities like geo-caching, Pokemon, Instagram and other social media-based information-sharing modalities (#2), and Electric/motorized Bikes (#3).

Click here to read the full report.



Research Briefs #6 –
REDLine Survey Results:
Emergency Preparedness

How prepared is your Department/Agency to respond to a major emergency or disaster? A recent survey suggests that nearly half of respondents have had to deal with one, including hurricanes, floods, snowstorms, wildfires and tornados.

This report summarizes the results from a brief survey conducted by GP RED during summer 2015 as a part of the RED LINE survey initiative. This research was related to the topic of emergency preparedness and explores the general level of preparedness for an emergency or disaster, experiences with emergencies, and tools and protocols currently in place to provide community relief and recovery during disasters. Respondents represented a relatively diverse array of different organization types and departments, ensuring that the answers provided reflect a variety of sectors. The survey was distributed via email to the GP RED master list. A total of 34 responses were received from this survey request.

Click here to read the full report.


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Research Brief #5 Suggests Ways to Improve Collaborative Success.

GP RED Board Member, John Henderson, examines why leisure organizations fail to seize community development opportunities. This paper focuses on the typical community center operated by a park and recreation agency and examines ways the agency can leverage resource investment in a community center to create synergistic benefit for the larger community beyond benefits received by individuals participating in programs and events at the center.
Click here for more information.


GP Red-Photovoice.inddNew Media Used to Engage Youth.

Board member Karla Henderson, PhD and GP RED Executive Director, Cindy Heath, CPRP, have recently authored a new Research Brief which reviews using image-based Participatory Action Research (PAR) to improve community health by way of PhotoVoice. The purpose of this research brief is to introduce the use of PhotoVoice and photo mapping, and to illustrate how PhotoVoice, in particular, has been used in two studies with young people in communities.

Click here for more information.



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New Report Examines the Research Sources Used By Parks and Recreation Professionals.

GP RED board member, Chris Cares, did a REDLine Survey as part of the series of Research Briefs to identify the data resources used by parks and recreation professionals. The study examined research resources and data accessibility across a variety of professional employment positions. Preferred sources for information, conference attendance, satisfaction with quality and availability of research, and comments and suggestions on professional research are evaluated. The results provide insight and understanding regarding commonly-used professional research sources and identifies potential areas for improvement to further enhance accessibility and quality. Click here for more information.


New report views streets as public spaces and relates them to prosperity.

Teresa Penbrooke, our Director of Healthy Communities Research Group, made us aware of a new report on streets as public spaces.
“I found this article interesting,” Ms. Penbrooke said, “mostly from the standpoint that they are completely classifying streets as “public spaces”, and the assumptions that the streets are more like how we look at linear parks (flow spaces), that just happen to include cars.  The focus is actually on the “collateral spaces” and uses that are often managed by parks and recreation departments. Interesting take.”  Click here to download this report.

NRPA-Safe routes to parks

GP RED initiatives referenced in new NRPA Reports

Park and recreation agencies play an important role in creating and maintaining opportunities for biking, walking and trails. While we know these resources are essential for healthy, happy lives, they also lead to some pretty important economic development like job creation. National Parks and Recreation Association (NRPA) recently released two new research papers, “Active Transportation and Parks and Recreation” and “Safe Routes to Parks.” The papers utilize data from GP RED’s Health Communities Research Group (HCRG) and Safe Routes to Play (SRTP). Both of the papers give you steps, information and research that you can use to improve active transportation and quality of life in your communities. Download these reports from out Resources page and use them to help shape your plans.


New “Research Brief” on Park Policies Released.

policy-cycle-300GP RED Research Brief #2
Positive Policy and Practices:
Concept, Context and Process

by David M. Compton, MS, MPH, Ed.D

Positive policies and practices for parks and recreation can help promote public health issues for youth such as reducing obesity and promoting fitness. GP RED Senior Research Fellow, David Compton, has authored a new Research Brief on how communities need to strike a balance on punitive park policies established by law, statute and ordinances with positive policy options that can lead to transformative processes that reverse the dropout trends of youth sports participation. Click here to read the whole report.

Read more…



Safe Access to Recreation Opportunities Blueprint Executive Summary
Now in Print

GP RED’s Safe Routes to Play (SRTP) initiative was implemented in three communities in Prince George’s County, Maryland in partnership with the Institute for Public Health Innovation. (IPHI) received funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Community Transformation Grant (CTG) to reduce chronic disease rates, prevent the development of secondary conditions and address health disparities in Prince George’s County, MD. IPHI focused its efforts on three Prince George’s County communities: Bladensburg/East Riverdale, Langley Park and Suitland/Coral Hills.  Safe Routes to Play is licensed under a Creative Commons Attributions-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

In partnership with Prince George’s County Executive’s Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative (TNI), the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), GP RED, Wildflower Consulting and the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), IPHI completed an in-depth assessment of connectivity and safety within a study area of a ½ to 1 mile radius around the Bladensburg, Langley Park and Suitland Community Centers.

This collaboration aimed to create safe access to recreation opportunities so that children, youth, and families can confidently walk or bicycle to these locations and feel secure in these spaces. The Blueprint builds upon existing efforts led by state and county officials and proposes a cross-sector action plan focused on improving active living opportunities
within these communities.

Click here to view the SARO Executive Summary.


Operation Recreation Response (ORR) raises funds and awareness locally and nationally for parks and trails restoration.

In December of 2014, GP RED presented $400 each to the Town of Lyons Parks and Recreation Department, the Town of Jamestown, and Wildland Restoration Volunteers in Colorado to support ongoing flood relief efforts in those communities.

The Call to Respond

In September 2013, when a devastating flooding hit the Colorado Front Range, GP RED (a non-profit organization that provides research, education, and development for health, recreation, and land management agencies) partnered with the Colorado Parks and Recreation Association (CPRA), Wildlands Restoration Volunteers, many other businesses, and several Colorado parks and recreation agencies to help. There were clean-up days scheduled immediately with thousands of volunteers to help clean up muck and debris. GreenPlay LLC, a Colorado-based national management consulting firm, and Design Concepts, a Lafayette, Colorado based landscape architecture and planning firm helped provide planning and inventory assessment assistance to several local communities. Loris and Associates provided pro bono engineering assessment of bridges and other structures.

In addition, GP RED put out a national call by email for financial donations, so that those who could not volunteer could help in that way. Since then, $1,200 was raised from individuals. It may not seem like much to some, but small donations (typically $25 to $50 each) came from across the country from those who wanted to help the response specifically for parks, to help restore normalcy as soon as possible to the affected communities. Now, the Board of Directors for GP RED have nominated three agencies to receive the money raised, determining that it should be divvied up for some of those who are still working valiantly to move forward in reparation of Colorado’s parks and trails.

Now a National Response – Concepts of the Operation Recreation Response

GP RED and partners at Save the Children and the Foundations for Parks and Recreation are also moving forward to join forces at a national level to provide planning and response for similar disasters through a national initiative called ORR. Goals of the ORR project include developing a capacity to facilitate relief services for communities impacted by natural disasters through their park and recreation departments, and to improve management practices that effectively prepare park and recreation agencies to respond to natural disasters affecting their systems and communities.

ORR has several layers:

  1. Emergency Preparedness for Park and Recreation Agencies through proactive planning
  2. Providing mutual aid type assistance to Park and Recreation Agencies affected by disaster
  3. Providing recreation services for those sheltered during disaster for tension relief
  4. Providing assistance to rebuild and repair park and recreation agencies after a disaster



GP RED introduces “Research Briefs”

GP RED Research Brief #1
Walkability Standards

by: Robby Layton, FASLA, PLA, CPRP

The increasing interest in walking as a healthy and sustainable means of getting around highlights a need to fill the gaps in what is known about walking as a form of transportation. Planners have traditionally relied on normative standards rather than ones based on evidence to determine time and distance relationships associated with walkability. This paper reports the results of an activity designed to test basic assumptions about walking speed and distance in the built environment and provides suggested guidelines for use in planning for walkability.

Read more…



GP RED Think Tank Presentations Now
Available on SlideShare!

The 2014 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.

The following presentations are are free for download:

  • Community Health and the Built & Natural Environment
  • Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria for Destinations
  • New Practices in Management & Trans-Disciplinary Research
  • Progress Not Perfection: Thriving During Stress
  • To the Rescue: Parks & Recreation in Disaster/Operation Recreation Response
  • Connecting the Dots: Innovation & Connections for Progress

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

  • Global Sustainable Tourism Council Destination Criteria
  • Global Sustainable Tourism Council Destination Indicators
  • Global Sustainable Tourism Council Accommodations
  • A New Paradigm for Creative Leadership

Read more…