Florida State Parks 2013 National Gold Medal Awards in Park and Recreation Finalist

TALLAHASEE – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida State Parks are one of the finalists for the 2013 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park Recreation Management by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association.

Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Awards program honors communities in the U.S. that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition. Applications are separated into seven classes, with five classes based on population, one class for armed forces recreation communities and the State Park System Class awarded every other year.

“More than 20 million people visit our award-winning state parks each year to enjoy the beauty of Florida’s beaches, springs, rivers and wooded areas,” said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. “Governor Scott and I once again congratulate DEP’s Florida State Parks for being named a National Gold Medal Finalist, as our Florida State Parks continue to show off the vast natural resources that our state has to offer.”

This year, the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration and the National Recreation and Park Association will award the prestigious and highly sought State Park System Class Gold Medal award, which is awarded every other year. The other finalists are Missouri State Parks, North Carolina State Parks & Recreation and Virginia Conservation and Recreation Division of State Parks. Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of citizens, staff and elected officials.

“I am very honored that Florida State Parks is a finalist for the National Gold Medal,” said Florida Park Service Director Donald Forgione. “Our staff members and volunteers work hard every day to welcome visitors to enjoy our natural and cultural resources. Just being a finalist in this category is an honor and something to celebrate.”

A panel of five park and recreation professionals reviews and judges all application materials. Judges are chosen for their considerable experience and knowledge in parks and recreation on both the local and national levels.

This year’s finalists will compete for Grand Plaque Award honors this summer, and the seven Grand Plaque recipients will be announced live during National Recreation and Park Association’s Annual Congress & Exposition in Houston, Oct. 8-10.

For more information on the Gold Medal Awards, visit www.nrpa.org/awards or www.aapra.org.

The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration is a non-profit organization founded to advance knowledge related to the administration of recreation and parks. The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Musco Lighting, LLC is a company that has specialized in lighting systems for sports and large areas for more than 30 years. Musco has pioneered dramatic improvements in energy efficiency and affordable ways to control wasted spill light and glare and is this year’s proud sponsor of the Gold Medal Awards Program.

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