NASPF Conference Speakers and Session Summaries
David Szymanski - David Szymanski is the acting Associate Director for Partnerships and Civic Engagement. David has served as superintendent of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area since 2012. Prior to that, he served as superintendent at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park from 2007 to 2012 and in park positions at Everglades National Park and Voyageurs National Park. David was a Bevinetto Congressional Fellow, where he spent a year working on the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks. In the 1990s, David spent two and half years working in the newly formed park system of Madagascar. David holds a master's degree in environmental management from Duke University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan.
Cindy Adams Dunn – Dunn is the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), which manages 121 state parks and 2.2 million acres of state forest for recreation and other values, provides conservation and recreation technical assistance and a grants program, and operates the Pennsylvania Geological Survey. At DCNR, she has helped position Pennsylvania as a leader in land conservation, outdoor recreation, green practices and public land management. Under her direction, Pennsylvania continues efforts to address the impacts of climate change, as well as providing leadership on planting forest buffers along streams to improve water quality. Dunn has worked in both the public and private sectors. She served in several leadership posts at leading environmental advocacy groups like Audubon Pennsylvania, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and PennFuture. She is trained as a biologist, and when not at work championing conservation her hobbies include birding, fishing, canoeing and hiking.
Lauren Imgrund – Imgrund was appointed the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Deputy Secretary for Conservation and Technical Services in 2016. Since her arrival at DCNR in 2006, Imgrund has held several important roles, including managing the Conservation Landscapes program. Imgrund has more than 25 years of experience in building collaborative partnerships to develop place-based solutions and strategies for land conservation, outdoor recreation, community re-vitalization, water quality improvement and natural resource conservation. Prior to coming to DCNR, she was Director of the Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring at Dickinson College for 10 years and served as Assistant Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Wildlife Federation. Imgrund holds a bachelor of science in biology from Juniata College and a master of arts in community psychology from Pennsylvania State University.
Marci Mowery – A former high school educator, Mowery entered the conservation arena 25 years ago, and has served as the President of the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation since 2005. She is also the current Chair of the National Association of State Park Foundations (NASPF). Her passion is to connect people to the outdoors. When not working, Mowery enjoys hiking, biking, paddling, reading, cooking, wine tasting and spending time with her family.
Chad Barger – Barger helps nonprofits overcome the barriers to fundraising success. He is a sought-after nonprofit fundraising speaker, master trainer, and coach who shares actionable nonprofit fundraising tips and free resources at productivefundraising.com. Chad has spent his entire career as a fundraiser. He has worked in large shops and small in a variety of sectors (including higher education, social services and the arts). The campaigns that he has worked on have raised in excess of $76 million dollars for the charities that he’s had the honor of serving. Chad is a graduate of Slippery Rock University where he got his fundraising start as a student phone-a-thon caller. He currently serves on Slipper Rock’s Philanthropy and Nonprofit Program Advisory Council.
Kelly Burnett - Kelly Burnett works as the Program Director, Conservation at the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF). She is responsible for coordinating events like National Public Lands Day and supporting initiatives that give people the opportunity and motivation to connect to nature through environmental stewardship in their communities. Kelly earned her bachelor’s degree at Oklahoma State University in Natural Resource Ecology and Management and is currently in the Executive Master’s in Public Service and Administration program at Texas A&M University in the nonprofit management track. She has a background in urban park management, volunteer management, event planning, community engagement, and providing opportunities for youth and families to enjoy the outdoors.
Stephenne Harding - Harding is the Senior Director for Lands at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) where she leads a team working on America the Beautiful, conservation, restoration, and protection of America’s iconic lands. The team works to imbue the importance of conservation and restoration in all the administration’s actions. Prior to that role, Stephenne ran her own consulting practice, served as National Geographic Society’s Senior Director for the Campaign for Nature, was Policy Advisor for U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), and was the Deputy Director at the Department of the Interior, among other roles. She holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and an undergraduate degree from Willamette University.
Nathan Reigner, PhD – Reigner is Pennsylvania’s Director of Outdoor Recreation. He is a social scientist with extensive experience analyzing, planning for, managing, and building collaboration to support outdoor recreation at every level from the local to the international. Throughout his career he has served as a policy analyst, consultant, business owner, university professor, conservation commissioner, and trail club leader, all with a focus on helping communities, parks, trails, and tourism destinations deliver outstanding experiences while protecting their essential character. A native of Pennsylvania, Reigner has a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Sociology from Gettysburg College, a Master of Science in Forestry from Virginia Tech, and a Doctorate in Natural Resource Management from the University of Vermont.
Jennifer Clinton – Clinton is the Senior Parks and Conservation Economist with the Trust for Public Land. In that role, she manages a portfolio of economic research projects that are used to advocate for land conservation and parks across the United States. Her recent research in New York City focused on the ecosystem services, public health, recreation, and economic development benefits provided by parks in the City. Previously, Clinton was a Community Development Planner with the regional planning agency for Cape Cod, serving as the project manager for their economic development initiatives. She worked on small business recovery from the pandemic, development of decision support tools, estimating household costs of stormwater and wastewater infrastructure, and communicating the impacts of climate change and sea level rise on the Cape. Clinton holds a M.S. in Agricultural & Resource Economics from the University of Connecticut.
Jeremy Sage - Jeremy Sage is RRC Associate’s Director of Tourism and Visitor Research. He specializes in tourism and recreation economics, visitor use management, regional economic analysis, as well as survey development, deployment, and analysis. He brings ten years of post-Ph.D. experience in socioeconomic-based actionable research. He currently leads multiple projects under the National Park Service’s nationwide socioeconomic research contract, including those that seek to place economic and social value on lands, and wildlife. Prior to coming to RRC in 2022, Jeremy led the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at the University of Montana, where he directed annual projects to estimate statewide visitor spending and profiles, as well as an assortment of niche tourism studies. Jeremy holds an Interdisciplinary PhD (Economics, Geography, and Rural Sociology) from Washington State University, M.S. in Human Dimension of Ecosystem Science and Management from Utah State University, and a B.S. in Ecology from Washington State University
Robert Johnson – Johnson is Principal and Co-Founder of Conservation United, which was formed in 2014 to provide insurance that is tailored to the special needs of conservation organizations like land trusts and conservancies, trail groups, and conservation corps. With more than a decade of experience in the insurance industry and commercial risk management sectors, along with detailed knowledge of how conservation organizations work, Johnson provides his clients with solutions to their liabilities and insurance challenges. Johnson holds a degree in business, management, marketing, and related support services from Arizona State University.
Jonathan Romero – Romero is a Business Insurance Advisor at HUB International Florida. In this role, which he has held since 2017, he provides clients with proper advisement on and placement of insurance while offering other risk management strategies that help reduce costs and loss in a business’ day-to-day operations. Romero’s previous role was a commercial lines risk manager for Rogers, Gunter, and Vaughn Insurance, Inc. He holds a bachelor's degree in economics and business finance from Florida Southern College.
Marcus Shoffner - Marcus Shoffner is the President and CEO of The Outdoor Inclusion Coalition. Marcus entered the outdoor sector upon graduation, working in the for-profit sector managing an industry tradeshow before transitioning to focus on city and state outdoor initiatives. Marcus relocated to Pittsburgh in 2018 and activated his skillset on a local level. Soon after, he created the Outdoor Inclusion Coalition to create a collaborative space to grow the outdoor industry and communal greenspaces. Marcus is a board member for Lawrenceville United, Lawrenceville Corporation, and LandForce, while serving as an advisor for Outdoor Recreation Roundtable’s Together Outdoors Coalition and an appointed member of the Growing Outdoor Recreation for Pennsylvania’s Recreation Engagement Coalition.
Dr. John Scott – Dr. Scott is an adjunct faculty member in the Transformative Studies doctoral program at CIIS and with the UC Berkeley EdD LEAD program (Leaders for Equity and Democracy). He is an academic, writer, narrative researcher, and change maker who has been providing anti-racism, equity, and inclusion leadership and support to organizations and individuals for over 25 years. Dr. Scott most recently was the DEI Director with Washington State Parks, and before that, served for over a year as the Senior VP of Equity and Inclusion with WA State Charters Schools Association. He served three years as the director of diversity, equity, and inclusion for Washington State with Seneca Family of Agencies. Dr. Scott utilizes creativity, transformative learning, and social justice pedagogy modalities to support individuals and systems in practicing for necessary change and revolution. He holds a PhD in Transformative Studies that was focused on Relational Ecology and Indigenous Studies, and a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Drama Therapy from California Institute of Integral Studies.
Getting Your Board to Fundraise - Join fundraising master trainer, Chad Barger, CFRE, for a workshop focused on equipping and motivating your board members to be great fundraisers. You will learn how to help them get over their fear of fundraising and develop the fundraising habit. Accountability and follow through will also be discussed. The session includes tools and samples that you can use to start building a fundraising culture within your board.
Key Trends in Volunteerism Since the Start of the Pandemic - Join the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) and state park experts in a discussion comparing the current state of volunteerism to pre-COVID programs and events. NEEF will discuss national trends with the unique perspective as national coordinator of National Public Lands Day, our nation’s largest single-day volunteer event for public lands. Presenters will also discuss key trends facing state park volunteer programs, both through a lens of ongoing volunteer programs and one-time large events. Attendees will learn how to navigate the changing volunteer landscape, have a chance to share their input on trends they are seeing locally, and participate in an open Q&A session with panelists.
Telling Our Parks’ Stories with Economic Data - Once viewed as a frivolous and peripheral part of community and state economies, outdoor recreation is now understood to be coherent and powerful avenue for community and economic development. Data, both quantitative and qualitative, have been instrumental in both illustrating the extent and impact of the sector and garnering support for its development. In this session, panelists will discuss how they use economic data in grow outdoor recreation in their respective states.
Insurance and Liability for State Parks – Determining if insurance is needed and then figuring out which insurance to purchase can be a daunting task. State parks and conservation organizations have unique needs and liabilities to consider in the process. In this panel session, you will learn from specific, real life insurance scenarios and find out why insurance matters now more than ever.
System to Collect Exclusionary Incidents In Parks - During this session, attendees will learn about the Inclusionary Incident Report, a tool to collect identity-related incidents that occur on public lands and recreational spaces. Attendees will see the importance of collecting data to analyze incidents, ways to implement it within organizations, and how the tool can further support recreational engagements.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility: How Welcoming and Embracing Diverse Narratives Can and Should Support DEI and Belonging in our State Parks - We will discuss how actively welcoming complex and diverse narratives can support diversity, equity, belonging, and accessibility in our state parks. For many years, narratives related to identities of race, class, physical and mental ability, gender, sexual orientation, and more, have been systemically de-centered and pushed to the margins. We will discuss how to specifically and systemically recenter these narratives and communities in ways that humanize, welcome, and embrace the complexity and diversity of our state park visitors and amazing communities.