Next Generation of Parks Event Series

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Through the Parks Foundation’s always-free Next Generation of Parks™ events, global design innovators and thought-leaders showcase the most exciting new parks destinations, opportunities, and research and delve into important issues of place affecting the Twin Cities community today.

2020-2021 Season Past Events

The 2020-2021 season of our always-free Next Generation of Parks Event Series showcased local perspectives on universal themes of rediscovering nature, connecting through the outdoors, and upholding timeless traditions.

The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Food Revolution

Thursday April 29, 2021, 7:00pm, via Zoom

Produced with support from Friends of the Falls

About: Sean Sherman and Dana Thompson, co-owners of The Sioux Chef, are at the forefront of an Indigenous food movement that’s restoring authentically local, healthy, and sustainable food practices, which are rooted in Indigenous cultural traditions. Join us for a special preview of Owamni by The Sioux Chef, set to take center stage at the soon too be complete Water Works Pavilion.
Speakers: Sean Sherman, founder and CEO, and Dana Thompson, co-owner and COO, The Sioux Chef, NATIFS.org, and coming soon, Owamni by The Sioux Chef restaurant at Water Works.
Details: A full recording of this presentation can be seen on our YouTube and Vimeo channels soon. In the meantime, you can watch the original stream via Facebook at @MplsParksFoundation.

Winter Birding 102

Saturday, February 25, 2021, 4:00pm, via Zoom

About: A special follow-up event to our February 6th Next Generation of Parks program, Winter Birding 101. This event will be dedicated to a Q&A session with our birding experts – there will be no set presentation. You’ll be able to submit your questions during this hour.
Speakers: Dudley Edmondson, renowned wildlife photographer and author of Black & Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places, with Monica Bryand, wildlife photographer and co-founder of Urban Bird Collective
Details: Visit our Vimeo or YouTube channels to watch the event video.

Winter Birding 101

Saturday, February 6, 2021, 3:00pm, via Zoom

Copresented with The Great Northern

About: This family-friendly inclusive introduction to some of Minnesota’s most spot-able “snow birds” aims to open the outdoors to BIPOC and LGBTQ communities
Speakers: Dudley Edmondson, renowned wildlife photographer and author of Black & Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places, with Monica Bryand, wildlife photographer and co-founder of Urban Bird Collective
Details: Visit our Vimeo or YouTube channels to watch the event video.

A “Wild and Rare” Talk

Thursday, December 10, 7:00pm, via Zoom

About: Adam Regn Arvidson traveled throughout Minnesota and as far afield as Texas to tell the story of the Upper Midwest’s endangered flora and fauna. Arvidson’s Wild and Rare (MN Historical Society Press, 2018) is an exploration of the ways in which humans are knowingly and unknowingly interconnected with the natural world.
Speaker: Adam Regn Arvidson, award-winning nonfiction author and Director of Strategic Planning, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
Details: Visit our Vimeo or YouTube channels to watch the event video.

Special thanks to our 2020-2021 Presenting Sponsor

Sponsor the Series!

Contact Jennifer Downham at jdownham@mplsparksfoundation.org to learn more about sponsorship opportunities. Thank you!


About the Next Generation of Parks Event Series

In 2010, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation helped jump start a conversation about parks design and city-building with our first Next Generation of Parks™ Event Series, hosting landscape designers and park advocates whose work includes The High Line in New York and London’s Green Grid. We have produced a lecture series nearly every year since, always with the goal of demystifying the impact of great design – inspiring thousands to be champions for dynamic, vibrant public space in Minneapolis and throughout the region.


Scenes From Our 2019-2020 Season

February 2020: Dr. Marla Spivak, Parks & Pollinators

Dr. Marla Spivak, Founder, Spivak Honey Bee Lab, University of Minnesota. A 2010 MacArthur Fellow, Dr. Spivak discussed her research on the demise of the honeybee, as well as her work protecting all bees and efforts to restore populations through pollinator-promoting urban parks and greenspace. Presented at the Walker Art Center on February 27, 2020.

November 2019: Mitchell J. Silver, Parks and Public Spaces: What’s Next?

Mitchell J. Silver, Commissioner of NYC Parks and acclaimed urban planner discussed his current work in parks development in New York City, as well as past work in Raleigh, NC as the Chief Planning and Development Officer and Planning director for the city. Presented at the University of Minnesota College of Design on October 10, 2019.


Series Videos

Find more on our YouTube and Vimeo channels.


Past Presenters 2010-2020

  • Sabina Ali, Co-Founder & Chair, Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee
  • Gia Biagi, Principal of Urbanism, Studio Gang
  • Bruce Chamberlain, Minneapolis Parks Fellow, Minneapolis Parks Foundation
  • Maurice Cox, Detroit City Planner
  • Roger Cummings, Co-Founder & Creative Director, Juxtaposition Arts
  • Jamie Dean, Principal Designer and Program Manager of London’s Green Grid
  • Adriaan Geuze, WEST 8
  • Robert Hammond, Friends of the High Line
  • Eelco Hooftman, GROSS.MAX
  • Mark Johnson, co-founder and principal, Civitas
  • Janet Lansbury, parenting expert and author
  • Tom Leader of Tom Leader Studio with Sheila Kennedy of KVA Architects
  • Laurie Olin, founding principal of OLIN
  • Kate Orff, Founder & Principal, SCAPE Landscape Design
  • Gil Penalosa, Founder and Chair of the Board, 8 80 Cities
  • Mitchell J. Silver, Commissioner, NYC Parks and Recreation
  • Dr. Marla Spivak, Founder, Spivak Honey Bee Lab, University of Minnesota
  • Lisa Tziona Switkin, of James Corner Field Operations
  • Florence Williams, Journalist and author of The Nature Fix: How Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier and More Creative
  • Lily Yeh, Founder, Barefoot Artists
  • Dr. Robert Zarr, Park Rx America

Become a Next Gen Sponsor

Our audience is forward-thinking and engaged. Find out how you can become a sponsor of the Next Generation of Parks Event Series. For more information contact Jennifer Downham at jdownham@mplsparksfoundation.org or 612.822.3401.

YOUR DONATION helps ensure the parks in our city remain accessible, equitable and serving everyone.