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Fran Mainella is President of Fran Mainella Consulting LLC and formerly a Visiting Scholar at Clemson University Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management.  Previously, Director Mainella served nearly six years as the 16th Director and the first woman to lead the National Park Service.  Fran served twelve years as Director of Florida’s State Parks, which were awarded the Gold Medal Award, recognizing Florida as the best state park system in the country.  She has also served as executive director of the Florida Recreation and Park Association and as president of both the National Recreation and Park Association and the National Association of State Park Directors.


Clemson University has presented Fran with its Walter T. Cox Award, its Award for Faculty Excellence and also named an award in her honor, encouraging women to pursue conservation careers.  The American Recreation Coalition also presented her with the Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award.  In 2006, she was awarded the William Penn Mott, Jr. Award for Excellence by the NSPR. Fran was one of the few that have been a two time winner of the Pugsley Award, the highest award given by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration. She has also been selected as the Metcalf Lecturer for SUNY- Cortland, the first ever Ralph Steele Lecturer for East Carolina University, and the Calhoun Lecturer for Clemson University.  For four consecutive years, the Clemson University Board of Trustees presented her with an award for faculty excellence.  In 2011, Mainella received the outstanding alumni of the year from the University Of Connecticut School Of Education.  Additionally, she has written many article and book publications including the introduction to National Geographic’s 10 Best of Everything National Parks and an acknowledgement to Richard Louv’s new book: The Nature Principle. Most recently Fran was honored by being selected to present the 2014 Robert W Crawford Lecture.


Fran is currently on the Board of Trustees for Guest Services, Inc. Also she is a board member of South Florida National Park Trust. Also she is Past Chair of the Children and Nature Network, Co-Chair of the US Play Coalition, Former Chair of the Pugsley Award committee and Fellow of the American Academy of Park and Recreation Administrators, Chair of the Public Lands Advisory Council to the National Environmental Education Foundation,  member of the Foundation for Sustainable Parks and Recreation, and a national speaker on Women in Leadership, Nature Deficit Disorder, Play, and Parks and Recreation.

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Director Mainella holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut, a master’s degree, and an honorary doctorate from Central Connecticut State College.