Trust for Public Land is seeking a Parks Research Fellow who is passionate about elevating the role of local parks and open space in addressing some of the most critical health, climate, and equity challenges facing communities today. The Research Fellow will manage one of TPL’s primary annual data collection efforts (the City Park Facts survey) and will assist with projects related to park equity and policy, and research and education tasks as necessary. This role will work directly with local government and non-governmental park organizations across the country to collecting key data and information and help synthesize that information into actionable insights.
Working with staff from both TPL’s Land and People Lab and 10-Minute Walk team, this position will also help advance TPL’s work to support city partners’ commitment to advancing 10-minute walk park access and equitable park systems. This position is a 12-month fellowship with potential for extending the term, based on funding availability, and the opportunity to apply into other roles at TPL.
A core goal of this program is to provide opportunities for early career professional development for those interested in entering the world of urban parks. Key skills you will gain from this fellowship include:
- Incredible networking opportunities to meet and collaborate with park and recreation staff in a wide range of cities across the country.
- Training and experience in data science, including GIS, SQL, and survey methodologies.
- Coaching and individualized professional development.
- Strong understanding of the key strategies to elevate the importance of city parks.
- Developing and completing a discrete parks research project of interest to you and of import to the parks field at large.
About the Organization:
At TPL, we don’t just save land—we save land for people to enjoy, from neighborhood parks to national parks. Our mission is to create parks and protect land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Every park, playground, and public space we create is an open invitation to explore, wonder, discover, and play. We’re proud to say that we’ve been connecting communities to the outdoors—and to each other—since 1972. Today, millions of Americans live within a 10-minute walk of a park or natural area we helped create, and countless more visit every year. The Land and People Lab at TPL applies rigorous evidence and state-of-the-art analysis to accelerate the national movement for parks and public land. The team created and manages the largest database on U.S. parks, and from this built ParkServe, a publicly available mapping platform that is used to close the park equity gap. The team also releases the annual ParkScore index, the national gold-standard comparison of park systems across the 100 most populated U.S. cities. 10-Minute Walk, an award-winning national program, is engaging city leaders to close the park equity divide so that every resident has access to a quality park or greenspace within a 10-minute walk of home.
- Conduct data collection and research, potentially including review of literature, interviews, and managing the annual City Park Facts survey of the 100 largest cities, including communicating directly with each city organization (governmental and non-governmental) to secure and confirm data inputs.
- Collaborate with other TPL staff to prepare ParkScore and City Park Facts for release, including preparing supporting documentation and media outreach documentation.
- With TPL manager, develop approach for project; refine key questions (related to key topics/project descriptions elbow) and develop methodology for answering those questions.
- Create presentations to varied audiences (experts, lay audiences, etc.).
- Participate in regular team and organizational meetings.
- Analyze qualitative data and information to identify key insights and recommendations.
- Collaborate with the Lab’s geospatial team to help verify spatial parks data updates to ParkServe, such as syncing park acreages in Microsoft Excel and GIS for cities.
- Identify and communicate trends and changes in the data to technical and non-technical audiences through both written and visual mediums (e.g. reports, Tableau, Microsoft PowerPoint).
- Develop and maintain cooperative working relationships with colleagues, municipalities, partner organizations and others.
- Support and engage with other relevant projects as opportunities arise.
- Passion for parks, people, and working together
- Positive attitude, with interest and ability to develop client and partner relationships, being sensitive to balancing research aims with clients’ and partners’ needs
- Ability to work independently and collaboratively on a geographically distributed team and with staff in other departments
- Detail oriented and organized
- Willingness to adapt and remain flexible as projects and priorities change
- Comfort with problem-solving quantitative data
- Experience with data analysis software programs (e.g. Microsoft Excel functions)
- Excellent oral and written communication skills
- Commitment to the full fellowship term (12 months)
- Minimum of a 2-year AA degree from an accredited college or university
- Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in urban planning, parks and recreation, geography, community development or related fields
- Experience working with any of the following types of software:
- GIS data using Esri software (ArcCatalog, ArcPro, etc.)
- Advanced data analysis software (e.g. SQL, R, advanced Microsoft Excel functions, Tableau, SurveyMonkey)
- Relationship Management software (MailChimp, Salesforce, etc.)
- Experience performing background research, preparing narrative reports, tables, charts and presentation graphics
- Experience communicating research findings to specific audiences
- Experience with local government policies and structures
- Experience as a community advocate and/or offering community service
Start Date: August 2022
Location: Flexible (remote ok)
This role will be compensated at $25/hour ($52,000 annualized). As a full-time, non-exempt employee, you will be eligible for TPL’s comprehensive benefits program which includes medical, dental, and vision insurance, three weeks of vacation annually plus holidays, and a 403(b) retirement plan, currently with an up to 5.5% company match.
At the Land and People Lab, we all have a role to play. We believe in cultivating a culture of inclusion, curiosity and connectedness. The collective sum of our individual differences, life experiences, self-expression and innovation contributes to our achievements and how we collaborate, share our perspectives, and encourage others to do the same. In turn, our team culture inspires us to speak up and helps us stand out. In recruiting for our team, we welcome the unique contributions that each person brings with them, including perspectives informed by culture, ethnicity, race, sex, gender identity and expression, religion, education and beliefs. In pursuit of a diverse and inclusive workplace, TPL is an equal opportunity employer that maintains an affirmative action program.