Woodlands official hits it out of the park
Do you love to picnic in the parks in The Woodlands? Jog or ride your bike on its many paths? Swim at the local pools or play a game of hoops on one the area’s many courts?
If so, it’s largely due to the work of Chris Nunes and his staff at the Parks and Recreation department for The Woodlands Township.
Nunes was recently recognized for his work by being named a fellow in the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, a rare honor reserved for only 125 individuals from around the country.
Nunes has been director of parks in The Woodlands since August 2006. He’s served in similar roles elsewhere, starting out in a town of 5,000 in Maine.
Parks and recreation administration has always been Nunes’ passion, and he holds a number of academic degrees in the field, culminating with his doctorate from the University of New Mexico in 1999.
“What makes it attractive is that you’re assisting a community,” Nunes said. “You’re trying to make it a better place for residents to work, live and play. It’s about making The Woodlands a special place.”
Nunes and his department oversee a large number of services and programs, all of which he hopes will improve the quality of life for The Woodlands residents.
“We’re responsible for the oversight and maintenance of 125 parks, 190-plus miles of pathways, 13 pools and several thousand acres of open-space reserves,” Nunes said. “We provide recreation programs to the community, and we manage and oversee the rec center’s amenities.”
Nunes described two upcoming projects he’s spearheading that he hopes will do a great deal to improve the parks system in The Woodlands. The first is removing dead trees, most of which were a result of the 2011 drought, from the public properties in the area. The second is the installation of six all-weather sports fields, which will allow more opportunities for children and adults to play sports on public facilities.
Based on his extensive education, his 17 years of experience and his demonstrated success in parks and recreation departments of varying size and resources, Nunes was given a fellowship in the AAPRA.
“It’s a group of 125 educators and practitioners from around the country,” Nunes said.
The organization has a number of goals and responsibilities, including the release of its official publication, the “Journal of Park and Recreation Administration.” Additionally, it conducts research, promotes public understanding of its projects and sponsors seminars to increase knowledge and awareness of its work.
ABOUT CHRIS NUNES
OCCUPATION: Director of Parks and Recreation in The Woodlands
COMMUNITY CONNECTION: Worked in The Woodlands since 2006
FAST FACT: Has worked as parks and recreation director in four states
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