Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - Contact: 225-273-6439

BREC Superintendent Named Top Park Professional in the Nation

BREC Awarded Finalist Plaque for the National Gold Medal Compeition

Baton Rouge, LA, October 5, 2016 - BREC Superintendent Carolyn McKnight received the 2016 National Distinguished Professional Award at the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Annual Congress and Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri. The award is presented to an individual who made outstanding contributions to their field through their leadership, research, advocacy, community outreach and program development. It is one of the highest honors bestowed on leaders in the Parks and Recreation profession.

"As I have spoken with Parks and Recreation professionals around the country, I have learned that BREC is widely known as one of the top park systems in the country, and I wish that all of our residents could see the level of respect and admiration BREC has earned from its peers, so they could understand how fortunate we are as a community to have this caliber of park system," said Lloyd Benson, Chairman, BREC Commission. "Superintendent McKnight has taken our agency to another level since she moved to Baton Rouge in 2012 and I am so proud that her leadership and accomplishments have been recognized at the national level," said Benson.

BREC itself was recognized as one of the top four park systems in the country with the presentation of its 13th finalist plaque for the prestigious 2016 National Gold Medal Award for excellence in Parks and Recreation Management. 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)

BREC has a long history of success, winning the Gold Medal in 1991 and 1975. 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. BREC competed in the Class 1 category which is the largest category and includes agencies serving communities with populations over 400,000.

"East Baton Rouge Parish has gone through one of the most traumatic times in its history this summer and while this award recognizes the accomplishments of BREC in 2015, I have been proud to see our team members rise to the challenge and respond to help the community in every possible way, despite nearly a quarter of our work force being impacted by the historic flood," said Superintendent Carolyn McKnight. "To me that is the definition of Gold Medal caliber work and I am proud that BREC has been part of the recovery effort from the very first day that our community needed us. We will continue these efforts and hope that we can celebrate a year from now by bringing the Gold Medal to East Baton Rouge Parish," said McKnight.

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.

For more information on the Gold Medal Awards and National NRPA Awards, visit or

BREC is the agency that connects people to parks and nature in East Baton Rouge Parish. It is a political subdivision of the state of Louisiana created in 1946 to develop, maintain and operate public park and recreational facilities. Throughout its 70-year history, BREC has taken seriously its responsibility to improve the health, safety, environment and quality of life for all citizens. BREC was among the first park agencies to earn national accreditation and recently earned reaccreditation for an unprecedented fifth time, meeting all 144 standards. BREC is a two-time National Gold Medal Award winner and 12-time national finalist. For more information, visit

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; to encourage scholarly efforts by both practitioners and educators that would enhance the practice of park and recreation administration; to promote broader public understanding of the importance of parks and recreation to the public good; and, to conduct research, publish scholarly papers and sponsor seminars related to the advancement of park and recreation administration. For more information, visit

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. Through its network of 50,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA's flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit

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