World Parks Academy

Professional development for parks and recreation professionals has typically been reserved for national certifying organisations. The World Parks Academy seeks to unite national certification systems by providing the first international competency-based certification programs for the parks and recreation industry. Additionally, the World Parks Academy provides certifications for countries without a current national certifying body.

The World Parks Academy is a joint program offered by Indiana University`s Epply Institute for Parks and Public Lands in conjunction with World Urban Parks.

Speaker - Stephen Wolter

Stephen Wolter serves as the Executive Director of the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands, and an Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health-Bloomington where he leads major programs in technical assistance, research, training and education, and planning for Indiana University. With over 35 years of experience in parks, recreation, and public lands management, he has led the Eppley Institute's award-winning programs serving the National Park Service, Carhart National Training Center for Wilderness Stewardship, Bureau of Land Management, municipal and state park organizations in the nation, and the World Parks Academy. As an Assistant Professor (part-time), Mr. Wolter teaches in the Indiana University School of Public Health graduate program focusing on leadership, philanthropy, planning, public policy, and built environment-active living courses. Steve has spoken on topics relating to parks and public lands, the environment, and park management and leadership in over a dozen countries and widely throughout the U.S.

Speaker - Dr. Digby Whyte

Dr. Digby Whyte has served in several key parks roles over the years with the most recent being the Chief Executive Officer of World Urban Parks from the formation of the organisation to 2018. Currently, Dr. Whyte is serving as the Director of Community and Environmental Sustainability with Balonne Shire Council. His obejctive is to create healthy, livable and sustainable communities. 

Dr. Whyte's expereince spans across policy-planning, operations, and tertiary education including responsibility for agency asset portfolios to the amount of $1 billion NZD, an annual operating and capital budget to the amount of $56 million NZD, and 172 staff. He is a specialist in organisational reviews and a whole-of-organisation approach.