FranMainella

Fran Mainella has been elected vice chair of the South Florida National Parks Trust, the official nonprofit partner of South Florida’s four national parks.

Fran Mainella, a visiting scholar at Clemson University and former director of the National Park Service (NPS), has been elected vice chair of the South Florida National Parks Trust, the official nonprofit partner of South Florida’s four national parks.

Mainella became the first woman to lead the National Park Service in 2001 and led the agency until her retirement in 2006. Prior to joining the NPS, she served for 12 years as the director of Florida State Parks, which earned a Gold Medal Award recognizing Florida as the best state park system in the nation. She joined the South Florida National Parks Trust board in 2014.

Mainella’s research at Clemson focuses on the value of play and reconnection to nature in the lives of children and adults. She researches and presents on national and state park issues and leads courses on the value of national parks, resource management policy, nature deficit disorder, special problems and independent study on parks and recreation. She also guest lectures in facility management, historic preservation, tourism, and introductory courses in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management.

In addition to her teaching and research, she serves as co-chair of the U.S. Play Coalition, a Clemson-housed, international network of individuals and organizations that promotes the value of play throughout life.

The South Florida National Parks Trust was established in 2002 to support South Florida’s four national parks – Everglades, Biscayne and Dry Tortugas National Parks and Big Cypress National Preserve. Since its inception, the Trust has provided more than $5 million in funding to support park projects and programs in five critical areas: environmental education, resource protection, ranger programs, volunteer activities and community outreach.