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Seeking Exhibitors for the Brandywine Community Flea Market
Watkins Nature Center Announces May Activities
Girls Softball Explosion at Watkins Regional Park
Artist Exhibition and Public Reception at Montpelier Arts Center for Judith Kornett
20th Annual Montpelier Herbs, Teas and the Arts Festival
Girl Scout Day at the Darnall’s Chance House Museum
TicketMaster Outlet at The Show Place Arena Closing
Call for Local Veteran Artists!!!The Art of Freedom: War, Peace and Everything in Between
GEICO Gecko Theatre Presents Midweek Matinee Series at Publick Playhouse
M-NCPPC Announces Café Groove Dates
FEATURE: Law Enforcement and First Responders Meet and Greet Make Impact with Disability Community
M-NCPPC Wins 2015 Public Building of the Year Award
National Excellence in Inclusion Award Goes to Department of Parks and Recreation
M-NCPPC “BEST IN NATION” WITH UNPRECEDENTED SIXTH GOLD MEDAL AWARD WIN


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – APRIL 11, 2016
PROGRAM INFORMATION CONTACT: 301-888-1500; TTY 301-699-2544
PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MARKETING CONTACT: ANITA PESSES
PHONE: 301-446-3306; MOBILE: 240-417-9865

Seeking Exhibitors for the Brandywine Community Flea Market

BRANDYWINE, MD – Looking for a treasure or have great things to sell? Clean out your closets and visit the Brandywine Community Flea Market! Exhibitors are wanted to sell their unwanted items, such as trinkets or unopened gifts. Sign up for a table; the non-refundable fee includes 1 table and 2 chairs with set up beginning at 7 a.m.
Exhibitors can sign up at Baden Community Center or by calling 301-888-1500. Please note this event will occur rain or shine and is free for shoppers.

When: Saturday, May 14, 2016, 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Where: Brandywine Elementary School (14101 Brandywine Road, Brandywine MD 20613)

Exhibitors’ Cost: County resident: $20; Non-County
resident $24

Registration: Yes (for exhibitors only)



The Department of Parks and Recreation provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – APRIL 7, 2016
PROGRAM INFORMATION CONTACT: 301-780-7577; TTY 301-203-6030
PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MARKETING CONTACT: KIRA CALM LEWIS
OFFICE: 301-446-3313; MOBILE: 301-446-3327

Watkins Nature Center Announces May Activities

UPPER MARLBORO, MD – See below for May activities at Watkins Nature Center:

Where: Watkins Nature Center (301 Watkins Nature Center, Upper Marlboro, MD 20774)

Campfire
Friday, May 13, 2016 – 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. – Ages 2 and older – $4 for residents, $5 non-residents
Enjoy nature tales and roasted marshmallows. Bring hot dogs if you’d like. Patrons will be notified of weather-related cancellations.

Farm Story and a Craft
Thursday, May 12, 2015 – 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. – Ages 2 to 12 – $4 for residents, $5 non-residents
Participants will enjoy a story and be able to create a craft afterwards.

Nature Hike for Seniors
Tuesday, May 17, 2016 – 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. – Ages 60 and older – $3 for residents, $4 non-residents
Join a Park Naturalist on a hike in search of wildlife and local plant life. Please wear comfortable shoes and dress appropriately for the weather.

Trip to Delaware Bay
Saturday, May 19, 2016 – 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. – Ages 18 and older – $25 for residents, $30 non-residents
Join a Park Naturalist at the height of the horseshoe crab mating and egg-laying season, and watch shorebirds at the Delaware Bay. Bring a lunch, drink, binoculars, camera and dress for the weather. We will also visit the Dupont Nature Center and Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge.

Night Hike
Friday, May 20, 2016 – 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. – Ages 6 and older – $4 for residents, $5 non-residents
A Park Naturalist will lead a nocturnal nature-themed hike in the park. Contact the facility in case of inclement weather.

Live Animal Show
Saturday, May 21, 2016 – 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Ages 2 and older – $3 for residents, $4 non-residents
Meet the nature center’s live animals, including reptiles, amphibians and birds of prey.

Campfire
Friday, May 27, 2016 – 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. – Ages 2 and older – $4 for residents, $5 non-residents
Enjoy nature tales and roasted marshmallows. Bring hot dogs if you’d like. Patrons will be notified of weather-related cancellations.

Puppet Show
Saturday, May 28, 2016 – 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Ages 2 to 10 – $3 for residents, $4 non-residents
Join us for a nature-themed puppet performance, followed by a meet-and-greet with the real-life animals that inspired the show.

The Department of Parks and Recreation provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities, and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – APRIL 5, 2016
PROGRAM INFORMATION CONTACT: 301-446-6822; TTY 301-699-2544
PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MARKETING CONTACT: ANITA PESSES
PHONE: 301-446-3306; MOBILE: 240-417-9865

Girls Softball Explosion at Watkins Regional Park

UPPER MARLBORO, MD – Girls ages 6-16 are invited to enjoy a fun-filled afternoon of carnival-style softball activities designed to introduce them to the sport of fast pitch softball.
Throughout the day, girls will participate in skills events, mini clinics, demonstrations, a home run derby, and a “parents vs. daughters” softball game. In addition, various equipment and apparel vendors will be on hand. Food and giveaways will be provided.

When: Saturday, April 30, 2016, 12 noon - 3:00 p.m.

Where: Watkins Regional Park (301 Watkins Park Drive, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772)

Cost: Free

Age: 6 -16 (girls only)

Reservations: Not required



The Department of Parks and Recreation provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – APRIL 6, 2016
PROGRAM INFORMATION CONTACT: 301-377-7800; TTY 301-699-2544
PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MARKETING CONTACT: ANITA PESSES
PHONE: 301-446-3306; MOBILE: 240-417-9865

Artist Exhibition and Public Reception at Montpelier Arts Center for Judith Kornett

LAUREL, MD – The Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation’s Montpelier Arts Center invites guests to attend the public reception for artist Judith Kornett and to view her exhibition LESS IS MORE.

Kornett’s exhibition, LESS IS MORE, is reflective of her intention to create sculptures that are fewer in number but deeper in content. Thematically, the pieces in this show express the belief that less violence will create a more peaceful world.

Kornett has invited others to create small works of art to be included in an installation that will be the exhibition’s titular piece. Proceeds from the sale of this installation, or parts thereof, will be donated directly to organizations or services that offer aid to victims of violence.

Attend her public reception on Sunday, May 15, 2016 from 2-4 p.m. in the Resident Artist Gallery of the Montpelier Arts Center. Or, view her exhibition that runs April 30 - May 22, 2016 from 10 a.m. to 5 pm. Both events are free and no reservations are required.

When: Sunday, April 30-Sunday, May 22, 2016, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. (Exhibition); Sunday, May 15, 2016, 2 - 4 p.m. (Reception)

Where: Montpelier Arts Center (9652 Muirkirk Road, Laurel, MD 20708)

Cost: Free

Reservations: Not required


The Montpelier Arts Center is located on the grounds of the historic Montpelier Mansion. It houses three galleries, artist studios, gas and electric kilns and offers an extensive class and workshop program to the public.


The Department of Parks and Recreation provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – APRIL 4, 2016
PROGRAM INFORMATION CONTACT: 301-377-7817; TTY 301-699-2544
PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MARKETING CONTACT: ANITA PESSES
PHONE: 301-446-3306; MOBILE: 240-417-9865

20th Annual Montpelier Herbs, Teas and the Arts Festival

LAUREL, MD – Celebrate 20 years of the Montpelier Herbs, Teas and the Arts Festival! Stroll among vendors of fragrant herbs, fine arts, and browse an assortment of handmade items such as baskets, garden accessories, jewelry and other collectibles.
Sip tea in Montpelier’s elegant east wing or enjoy a tasty lunch while taking in a lecture. Kids can play in the hands-on history playground, create art projects, or see an animal exhibit.

When: Saturday, April 30, 2016, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Where: Montpelier Mansion/Historic Site (9650 Muirkirk Lane, Laurel 20708)

Cost: Free admission (with fees for certain activities)

This event is free but there is a charge for a tea and other activities. Tea tickets will be available online beginning April 1. For a schedule of events or to buy tickets, visit the Montpelier Herbs, Teas and the Arts Festival page.


The Department of Parks and Recreation provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – APRIL 4, 2016
PROGRAM INFORMATION CONTACT: 301-952-8010; TTY 301-699-2544
PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MARKETING CONTACT: ANITA PESSES
PHONE: 301-446-3306; MOBILE: 240-417-9865

Girl Scout Day at the Darnall’s Chance House Museum

UPPER MARLBORO, MD – The M-NCPPC, Department of Parks and Recreation, Darnall’s Chance House Museum invites Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts for Girl Scout Day.
Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts can earn up to five badges in one day by participating in various activities. They can try their hand at archery, basket making, see how herbs were used in the 18th-century, tour the museum, or learn about archaeology.

Space is limited. Troop leaders must register and pay all fees by Friday, April 22, 2016 at 301-952-8010. The rain date for this event is May 1, 2016.

When: Saturday, April 30, 2016, 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Where: Darnall’s Chance House Museum (14800 Governor Oden Bowie Drive, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772)

Cost: $20/girl scout (includes all badges); Free for all chaperones and leaders

Age: Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts

Reservations: Yes; Troop leaders must register by April 22, 2016 by calling 301-952-8010.

The Darnall’s Chance House Museum opened to the public in 1988 as a historic house museum. It is dedicated to the interpretation and the study of the history and culture of 18th century Prince George’s County, Maryland, with a special emphasis on the lives of mid-18th-century women.


The Department of Parks and Recreation provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – March 21, 2016
FOR INFORMATION CONTACT: 301-952-7900; TTY 301-699-2544
PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MARKETING CONTACT: ANITA PESSES
PHONE: 301-446-3306 or Anita.Pesses@pgparks.com

TicketMaster Outlet at The Show Place Arena Closing
Box Office with Remain Open for Onsite Events

UPPER MARLBORO, MD - The Show Place Arena Box Office will no longer be operating as a Ticketmaster Outlet as of Friday, April 1, 2016. The Box Office will open for events held at The Show Place Arena only on the day of the event at 10 am.

The Show Place Arena Box Office has operated a TicketMaster Outlet for over 20 years. Recently TicketMaster has made the decision to close their outlets.

The Show Place Arena includes a lobby with box office, a concourse, and a basic oval arena. The concourse level has three banquet rooms; the Arena can be viewed from two of them. Private suites of varying sizes also have views into the Arena. Adjacent to the Arena floor on the south side, are dressing rooms/locker rooms and production offices. The Arena décor features burgundy, hunter green and tan, and the theme references the historic Marlboro Race Track that had previously operated on the property.


The Department of Parks and Recreation provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 2, 2016
PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MARKETING CONTACT: KIRA CALM LEWIS
OFFICE: 301-446-3327; MOBILE: 301-704-5272

Call for Local Veteran Artists!!!The Art of Freedom: War, Peace and Everything in Between
DEADLINE TO APPLY: FEBRUARY 27, 2016

RIVERDALE, MD – The Maryland - National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation is looking for veteran artists to participate in the upcoming The Art of Freedom: War, Peace and Everything in Between exhibit. This call is open to all veterans and active duty members of all branches of service who reside or are deployed in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia. The exhibition will showcase artwork by veterans and the military community using the creative process to promote healing, and provide insight into artistic expression as a tool for understanding the transition from military to civilian life. Female veterans and veterans of color are encouraged to apply.
This exhibition seeks to cultivate artistic support for veterans and active duty members to highlight the role art can play in the healing process of returning from deployment. Curators for the exhibition will select artworks for inclusion based on artistic merit, relevance to the exhibition theme, and suitability for display in the exhibition space. The Sports and Learning Center Gallery is a public space, open to all audiences that welcomes a large number of visitors of all ages. Artworks in the gallery are hung from picture rails that cannot support extremely heavy objects. Only artworks that can be displayed on the wall will be accepted. Curators for this exhibit will be Constance Mattox, Guest Curator, Arts Educator, Masters of Arts Administration and Phil Davis, Director, Brentwood Arts Exchange.
 February 27 - Deadline to apply (employees of The M-NCPPC are not eligible to participate)
 March 5 - Artists notified of acceptance

Applications may be submitted by mail or delivered in person and must arrive at the Brentwood Arts Exchange no later than February 27, 2016 at 4 p.m. No applications accepted by email. Each submission should include a CD containing:
 3-5 images of artworks to be considered
 A list of images that included titles, media, size and dates work was created.
 An artist statement relevant to artworks submitted.
 Proof of military or veteran status.
 All submitted materials must be clearly labeled with the artist’s name and contact information.
 Optional. SASE for return of applications. Applications will not be returned unless as SASE with adequate postage is provided.

Mail applications to:
Attn: The Art of Freedom Exhibition
Brentwood Arts Exchange
3901 Rhode Island Avenue
Brentwood, MD 20722
For additional information, please contact, Phil Davis, Director, Brentwood Arts Exchange, 3901 Rhode Island Avenue, Brentwood, MD 20722, or at 301.277.2863, and by email at phil.davis@pgparks.com.

The Department of Parks and Recreation provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – DECEMBER 11, 2015
PROGRAM INFORMATION CONTACT: 301-277-1710; TTY 301-699-2544
PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MARKETING CONTACT: KIRA CALM LEWIS
OFFICE: 301-446-3313; MOBILE: 301-446-3327

GEICO Gecko Theatre Presents Midweek Matinee Series at Publick Playhouse

CHEVERLY, MD – The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation in Prince George’s County is partnering with the GEICO Gecko Midweek Matinee series again for 2015-2016 to provide free concerts to youth in Prince George’s County.

The GEICO Philanthropic Foundation gave the Prince George’s County Parks and Recreation Foundation a $30,000 grant donation to fund the series, which are available free of charge to students at Title 1 schools in the county who might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience the magic of live theatre.

The Parks and Recreation Foundation helps position the Department of Parks and Recreation to use less of its overall operating budget for projects, services and programs due to donations from individuals, corporations and businesses.

“On behalf of the Parks and Recreation Foundation, we are thrilled to receive GEICO’s $30,000 donation,” said Steven Carter, Director of the Parks and Recreation Foundation. “Giving children exposure to the arts is extremely important to the Department, especially when it’s kids who might not have that opportunity without outside support. The Foundation hopes to continue nurturing corporate relationships, just like the one we have with GEICO, so that more children can be exposed to the arts and our other programs.”

The GEICO Gecko will present the donation at the Publick Playhouse at the live showing of “Season’s Greetings” on Monday, December 14, 2015. M-NCPPC executives will be in attendance to celebrate the occasion.

The Publick Playhouse is owned and operated by the Department of Parks and Recreation. The Department of Parks and Recreation acquired and began restoration of the Playhouse in 1975. The Playhouse serves as a venue for the performing arts, concerts, dance, theater and community events and is one of the two surviving Art Deco theatres in Prince George’s County.

For tickets and information, call the Publick Playhouse at 301-277-1710.

Remaining performances for the season include:
All shows are at 10:15 a.m. and noon
Monday, December 14, 2015 – Season’s Greetings
Monday February 1, 2016 – Jackie Robinson: A Game Apart
Monday, February 29, 2016 – The Right to Dream
Monday, March 14, 2016 – Upcycled Cinderella
Thursday, April 21, 2016 – Butterfly: The Story of a Life Cycle
Monday, May 9, 2016 – My Heart in a Suitcase

Where: Publick Playhouse (4410 Bishopmill Drive, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772)

The Department of Parks and Recreation, which has won an unprecedented six National Gold Medal Awards for excellence in the field of park and recreation management, provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – OCTOBER 30, 2015
PROGRAM INFORMATION CONTACT: 301-446-3244; TTY 301-699-2544
PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MARKETING CONTACT: KIRA CALM LEWIS
OFFICE: 301-446-3313; MOBILE: 301-446-3327

M-NCPPC Announces Café Groove Dates

RIVERDALE, MD – The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation has announced its 2015-16 Café Groove series, which takes place on the first Friday of each month through May.

Café Groove is a free, expressive arts program for teens, allowing them to enjoy artistic performances or be the performer themselves! Set in a cozy and relaxed coffeehouse atmosphere, Café Groove has an open mic format which allows teens to perform in front of their friends and family.

The March Café Groove will be a special evening, featuring the Prince George’s County Best Dance Crew competition.

This unique dance contest provides dancers with an opportunity to showcase artistry and techniques from all dance genres. The five-minute performances will feature 10 top dance crews competing for first-, second- and third-place prizes. Dance crews can be all-male, all-female or co-ed.

There will also be a singles freestyle contest, with the winner taking home a cash prize.

Café Groove Dates and Locations
All events are from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

- November 6, 2015 – Prince George’s Ballroom (2411 Pinebrook Ave, Landover, MD 20785)
- December 4, 2015 – Artomatic Teen Night (8100 Corprorate Dr, Hyattsville, MD 20785)
- February 5, 2015 – Oakcrest Community Center (1300 Capitol Heights Blvd, Capitol Heights, MD 20743)
- March 4, 2015 – Publick Playhouse (5445 Landover Rd, Cheverly, MD 20784)
- April 1, 2015 – Hillcrest Heights Community Center (2300 Oxon Run Dr, Temple Hills, MD 20748)
- May 6, 2015 – Marlow Heights Community Center (2800 St Clair Dr, Temple Hills, MD 20748)

The Department of Parks and Recreation provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – SEPTEMBER 24, 2015
PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MARKETING CONTACT: KIRA CALM LEWIS
OFFICE: 301-446-3313; MOBILE: 301-446-3327

FEATURE: Law Enforcement and First Responders Meet and Greet Make Impact with Disability Community

RIVERDALE, MD – It was a question worth asking, and this student wasn’t holding back.

He hadn’t pulled questions so far while chatting with Corporal Randy Green, a Maryland-National Capital Park Police officer since 2006, and this question seemed the most important.

“What happens if you handcuff me and I can’t use my hands to speak,” the student asked through his deaf interpreter.

Green had the perfect response.

“I just told him, politely, ‘Well, if you don’t disobey the law, you won’t have to be handcuffed,’” Green said. “Everyone started laughing. He came up and gave me a high five. But he asked some questions to see if we have anything in place, and that’s the reason why this program is a big hit.”

That exchange came in the last year at one of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning’s two Meet and Greet with Law Enforcement and First Responders, a collaborative effort to connect those who protect our community with the disability community. This fall’s event will be taking place on Wednesday, October 7, 2015, at the Park Police’s Enterprise Substation in Mitchellville, Md.

One tragic incident points out the need for this event. In January of 2013, Ethan Saylor, of New Market, was spending his afternoon at a Frederick movie theater watching “Zero Dark Thirty,” which was so good that he didn’t want to leave. He had to see it again.

Saylor, who had Down syndrome, was asked to pay the $12 for reentry or leave. He wouldn’t leave, prompting movie theater staff to call the off-duty deputies who were working security. Things got physical while trying to remove Saylor, who didn’t like to be touched. After being handcuffed and taken to the ground, Saylor went quiet and stopped moving. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital soon after.

Saylor’s death at 26 years old became a national story, especially within the disability community. Sandy Kellstrom, a therapeutic recreation coordinator for M-NCPPC’s Department of Parks and Recreation in Prince George’s County, knew something needed to change.

“This program is important to reduce barriers and increase awareness among the communities,” Kellstrom said.

Kellstrom and two of her close friends within the disability community – Liz Burley, a transition specialist for the Prince George’s County Public Schools Department of Special Education, and Melonee Clark, an outreach program administrator for Arc Prince George’s County – put their heads together and came up with the idea of the meet and greet event.

They envisioned the event as a way for people in the disability community to meet police officers and first responders in a controlled environment, and also as a chance for the officers and responders to gain a better understanding of people with disabilities.

“Before this, we had nothing,” Clark said. “Even though it’s a festive event, it’s also an educational event. If an officer gets training – book training – that can’t take the place of actually talking to someone who has a disability, or someone who may use technology or sign language to communicate. These are experiences that officers or first responders need to know. So I think this is a win-win for the county.”

The event, which has been focused to reach the transition age range of 18 to 21 year olds and drew more than 500 participants combined at the first two events, has several different stations which groups rotate through. Highlights include meeting the canine unit, getting to go in and hear an ambulance, meeting Park Police’s mounted unit horses and seeing a helicopter.

This October, the event will be open to anyone older than 18.

“Getting kids not to fear sirens … some students get very animated or scream or have cases where they’re frightened by loud noises and bright lights,” Burley said. “So this opportunity shows them they don’t need to be afraid.”

After 13 years policing, Cpl. Green already had encounters with members of the disability community prior to attending his first meet and greet.

He recalls a time years ago when a deaf person was walking in a median on Landover Road. He knew to immediately get out a pen and notepad so the two could communicate.

Green knows this event is important, especially for those new to the job, and hopes it can prevent future situations like Saylor’s.

“Having that new officer in law enforcement, bringing them to meet people with disabilities… they get to see things in a different light,” Green said. “Just remember that what you’re doing today is going to affect your tomorrow.”

When: Wednesday, October 7, 2015 – 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Where: Park Police Enterprise Substation, Mounted Unit (3002 Enterprise Road, Mitchellville, MD 20721)

For information on attending future events, contact Sandy Kellstrom at sandra.kellstrom@pgparks.com.

The Department of Parks and Recreation provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – SEPTEMBER 21, 2015
PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MARKETING CONTACT: KIRA CALM LEWIS
OFFICE: 301-446-3313; MOBILE: 301-446-3327

M-NCPPC Wins 2015 Public Building of the Year Award

RIVERDALE, MD – The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning (M-NCPPC), Department of Parks and Recreation for Prince George’s County, was awarded Public Building of the Year by the American Institute of Architects Maryland for architecture used while building Southern Regional Technology and Recreation Complex in Fort Washington, Md.

The 37,000-square-foot building, designed by Suman Sorg, FAIA and Sorg Architects, opened in 2013. The jury selected the building for the award because it “showcases the power of architecture to function as a catalyst to bring a community together.”

A colored-glass front highlights the building’s design, with blue and green hues to connect the building to the surrounding natural landscape. Sorg said she chose white metal for the structure to give it a lighter feel, and kept the building’s height minimal so it didn’t overpower the surrounding community.

Sustainability was another focal point in the design, Sorg said, installing a green roof, and items for water and energy conservation.

This LEED Silver certified building has unique amenities, including a rock climbing wall, a recording studio, an environmental science lab, a computer lab, a double gymnasium, a dance studio, seminar rooms, teen and adult cafés, fitness rooms and a multi-purpose room with warming kitchen.

The jury finished by saying that Southern Regional Technology and Recreation Complex “is a model for architecture in the public realm.”

The Department of Parks and Recreation provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – SEPTEMBER 17, 2015
PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MARKETING CONTACT: KIRA CALM LEWIS
OFFICE: 301-446-3313; MOBILE: 301-446-3327

National Excellence in Inclusion Award Goes to Department of Parks and Recreation

RIVERDALE MD – Recreation inclusion services for people with disabilities in Prince George’s County are bringing home national honors. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s Department of Parks and Recreation in Prince George’s County today received a National Excellence in Inclusion Award from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). The award was presented at the 2015 NRPA Annual Congress in Las Vegas, Nev.

This is the second time M-NCPPC’s Special Programs Division has received this award, first winning in 2004 when the award was given by the National Institute of Recreation Inclusion.

“It is a tremendous honor to receive this award,” said Ronnie Gathers, Director of M-NCPPC’s Department of Parks and Recreation. “Our inclusion employees are being rightfully recognized for their 40 years of leading at the cutting edge of the industry in therapeutic recreation and inclusion services.”

Each year, NRPA National Awards are presented to individuals and agencies across the U.S. to honor their efforts – both professional and personal – in the field of parks and recreation. There are 10 award categories in the NRPA’s National Awards program. Recipients are selected from a pool of applicants by NRPA’s National Awards and Scholarship Committee, and are chosen for excellence in a variety of topics, including professional and voluntary service, programming, leadership, research and public outreach.

The Excellence in Inclusion Award recognizes and honors an agency/organization that has rendered significant leadership efforts and advocacy in inclusive processes and practices. The agency/organization demonstrates and excels in inclusive programming by providing inclusive opportunities to people of diversity or with disabilities.

M-NCPPC first began offering therapeutic recreation programs in Prince George’s County in 1974 and was a national leader in the industry. M-NCPPC’s Department of Parks and Recreation established the program 16 years before it was mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), with support from the community, advocates and parents of children with disabilities.

The Special Programs Division’s Therapeutic Recreation team ensures that all of the Department’s employees, programs and facilities are equipped to serve people of any ability by hiring and training inclusion support staff, recruiting individuals with disabilities for employment, requiring ADA training for career staff, providing sign language interpretation, and dedicating staff for ADA programs and facility access.

Inclusion Services staff provide disability accommodations to facilitate opportunities for people with – and without – disabilities to participate in recreation and leisure activities together. These services may include the use of companions in a class or activity, support staff to enhance the staff-to-participant ratio, assistive listening devices and adapted equipment. The Department also provides specialized therapeutic recreation programs to meet the needs of people with disabilities who wish to participate in specialized programming.

Inclusion services may be requested at the time a customer registers for a program or class.

The Department of Parks and Recreation provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 15, 2015
Prince George’s Parks and Recreation: KIRA CALM LEWIS
301-704-5272; KiraCalmLewis@pgparks.com
Montgomery Parks: MELISSA CHOTINER
301-650-2866; Melissa.Chotiner@MontgomeryParks.org

M-NCPPC “BEST IN NATION” WITH UNPRECEDENTED SIXTH GOLD MEDAL AWARD WIN

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) today won the prestigious 2015 National Gold Medal Award for excellence in Parks and Recreation Management. The Gold Medal is one of the highest professional awards available to parks and recreation agencies throughout the country and involves a stringent qualification and judging process. The Gold Medal Award is presented annually by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA) in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).

M-NCPPC has a long history of Gold Medal successes, winning the prize in 1973, 1977, 1984 and 2003. M-NCPPC won its fifth Gold Medal in 1983 for leadership in special recreation and outstanding community achievement in serving people with disabilities. This year’s win secured the agency’s sixth Gold Medal. No other agency in the country has ever won six.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary with NRPA, 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. Gold Medal Award winners were selected from finalists in five population classes, and Grand Plaque recipients were announced today, September 15, during NRPA’s Annual Congress & Exposition in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“The Commission is extremely honored and privileged to receive this unprecedented, sixth National Gold Medal on behalf of the 1.8 million residents we serve in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, and on behalf of our talented and creative staff members and unselfish volunteers’” M-NCPPC Chairman Elizabeth M. Hewlett said. “In partnership with our actively engaged citizens, M-NCPPC has worked diligently throughout our 85-plus year history to successfully deliver outstanding, affordable parks and recreation opportunities and experiences for all.”

"This award is a product of the hard work and dedication of our staff," M-NCPPC Vice Chair Casey Anderson said. "I'm thrilled that they are getting the recognition they deserve. They know that we need to innovate and adapt to meet the challenge of being the best, and I am proud to work with them."

“We continue our commitment to delivering outstanding parks and recreation services to the residents of Prince George’s County,’” said Ronnie Gathers, Director of the Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation. “Recognition by this distinguished organization honors the dedication of our staff and motivates us to continue to perform at the highest level.”

Michael F. Riley, Director of Montgomery Parks, said, “This prestigious national award reflects the high standards of excellence we strive for. This award also reflects that hard work and commitment of our talented staff and community volunteers who support our mission as well as our parks, facilities and programs. We are both honored and humbled by this award, and are committed to continuing our efforts to protect and provide excellent, safe and accessible parks and programs to the residents of Montgomery County.”

Established in 1927 by state law to acquire, develop and maintain park land and open space, and to plan for the orderly development of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, M-NCPPC has grown and evolved to keep pace with the growth and diversity of the bi-county area it serves. Under direction of its Montgomery County Department of Parks and Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation, the Commission today maintains more than 57,000 acres of parkland and open space, operates more than 200 recreational facilities, and attracts more than 25 million visitors each year.

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. NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org or www.aapra.org.

For more information about The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, visit mncppc.org. And, for more information about the Department of Parks and Recreation in Prince George’s County, visit pgparks.com and stay connected on facebook.com/pgparks and twitter.com/pgparks.

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