Trust for Public Land Announces Jodi Valenta as New Massachusetts State Director
Today, nonprofit and outdoor industry professional Jodi Valenta joins Trust for Public Land (TPL) as the organization’s new Massachusetts State Program Director.
Jodi will work to advance park equity throughout the Bay state, including through TPL’s partnerships with the City of Boston and Boston Housing Authority and federal agencies including the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Jodi previously served as Executive Director of Friends of Prescott in Groton, Massachusetts, a community-based organization providing opportunities for people of all ages and diverse backgrounds to recreate, enjoy the arts, and experience outdoor learning opportunities. While there, Jodi administered education programs for youth, families, and adults while leading the organization into its next chapter through a major park infrastructure project.
Jodi started her career with the U.S. Congress where she worked for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. She then joined the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, a D.C. based non-profit where she advocated on Capitol Hill for policies to support the conservation work of state fish and wildlife agencies. Later, she became a director at an outdoor foundation where she developed the Step Outside program that introduced over 250,000 youth, women, and diverse audiences to outdoor recreation. She was also intricately involved in the creation, launch, and execution of KidsDiscoverNature.com, a website that promoted the positive benefits of connecting children and families to nature and the outdoors.
“The positive benefits of connecting children and families to nature and the outdoors are immense, and ensuring these spaces are built with residents’ input is key to fostering healthy communities,” Jodi said. “I’m thrilled to be leading TPL’s Massachusetts’s program and working to deliver the organization’s mission through increasing park access where park-equity gaps, and climate and health stressors, are the greatest.”
In fall of 2018, Boston became the second major U.S. city to meet TPL’s 10-minute walk goal —which aims to put a great park or open space within a 10-minute walk of everyone in America. The project that brought the city to this gold standard, Chittick Schoolyard in Mattapan, sits in the middle of Boston’s largest park-access gap, with construction slated to begin this spring to erect a publicly accessible schoolyard park renovation designed by and for the surrounding residents.
However, there are still many areas of the Greater Boston area and communities across the state that are lacking in quality, close-to-home park access including many residents at greatest risk from extreme heat and other challenges brought on by climate change in the coming years.
Shelby Semmes, Vice President and The Trust for Public Land’s New England director extolled Valenta’s experience. “Jodi’s deep knowledge of community development, land conservation and outdoor equity make her the ideal choice to lead our efforts in this dynamic part of the country.”
About Trust for Public Land
Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 4 million acres of public land, created more than 5,364 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $93 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected nearly 9.4 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit tpl.org.