Last modified: Wednesday, February 20, 2002
IU's Eppley Institute receives training funds to aid National Park Service
The Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands at Indiana University has received more than $500,000 in training development funds to help the National Park Service complete two major new initiatives.
The new projects are a $3.5 million training program for all new park employees and a $4.9 billion Presidential Park Legacy initiative for the national park system, said Stephen Wolter, director of the Eppley Institute at the IU School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.
"The $4.9 billion project involves an analysis of all existing facilities and assets in national parks to determine where and how to spend these funds in order to fix problem areas. The initiative is designed to reduce or eliminate long-term deferred maintenance in the parks, including failing roads, utility systems and visitor centers that have existed for decades," explained Wolter. "Our involvement at Eppley will be to design a training program for use of a national data base that will help implement the process. Our involvement with the $3.5 million training program for all new park employees will be to design and evaluate the curriculum, train the park service trainers who will implement the program, and help create a distance learning component for the training."
The initial funding to Eppley for the one-year project totals just over $500,000, and Wolter said agreements for an additional $500,000 are pending. Faculty, students and staff at IU will provide the expertise in developing the training programs and products for the park service. "The National Park Service is deeply appreciative, and in some ways dependent upon the involvement and support of our academic community at Indiana University. Our cooperative agreement with the park service is extremely valuable because it provides learning and sponsored research opportunities for the students and faculty in the Recreation and Park Administration Department while supporting the preservation and conservation mission of the National Park Service," Wolter said.
He noted that over the past six years the Eppley Institute has helped to provide training and development programs for thousands of National Park Service personnel. Areas covered have included facility management, administration and office management support, training needs assessments, supervision, management and leadership, and technology-enhanced learning. Wolter said many of these are included in the current training grant program.
The park service last year honored the Eppley Institute with its highest honor for training and development excellence, the Crystal Owl Award.
The Eppley Institute was created in 1993 to encourage quality recreation and educational experiences for people while providing for protection of the natural and cultural resources of this country. More details on the institute are available at its Web site at http://www.eppley.org.