We’re pleased to share that Ellen Bruenderman is Park Pride’s new Director of Community Building, promoted from her previous role as the Project Manager. Congratulations, Ellen!
Ellen will lead the Community Building team, a group at Park Pride that supports developing Friends groups’ and helps them achieve their goals. In her new role, Ellen will manage the Community Building team and help foster productive relationships with Park Pride’s many partners and connect advocacy initiatives to our Friends of the Park groups.
“If we do our work well, communities will continue to benefit from the power of parks beyond their engagement with Park Pride.” ~Ellen Bruenderman
Ellen is from Louisville, Kentucky. Outside of Park Pride, you can find Ellen playing in creeks with her dog, traveling with friends, and wearing stylish clothing that has probably been thrifted.
We sat down with Ellen to talk about her new role and all things parks.
Why are parks important to you?
Parks are spaces of connection—connection to nature, to others, to self, etc. Parks help us understand how connected everything is because we engage with nature on an intimate level by coexisting with trees, animals, etc. I think this understanding is essential for positive co-evolution with other lifeforms, which is why parks are important to me.
Park Pride’s mission is “to engage communities to activate the power of parks.” In what ways are parks powerful?
Our mission is fundamental to our identity — Park Pride engages communities. We partner with groups who express readiness for our services, and we respect all definitions of the “power of parks.” Our programming is meant to build community capacity to activate that power from within. If we do our work well, communities will continue to benefit from the power of parks beyond their engagement with Park Pride. That’s what our mission means to me.
Why is it important for communities to have a voice in their parks?
The community should have a seat at the table where decisions about their park’s are being talked about.
What are you most excited about with your new position?
A big part of my role is supporting my teammates in delivering our Friends of the Park and Volunteer programming in accordance with Park Pride’s mission, vision, and values. I’m thrilled to have the privilege of working with a team of passionate, dedicated, and genuine people.
Now for some fun questions. What’s your favorite park related memory?
One that often comes to mind is being at St. George Island State Park with my sister. We visited St. George Island every year when I was younger, so we went on a nostalgic post-college graduation trip there. The park had just closed, but the guard let us in anyway. We were the only ones on the beach for sunset and everything was glowing pink. This beach was the beach that ruined every other beach for us because it was so beautiful. The sand dunes were tall and healthy. Dolphins were cruising by. Crabs were running sideways. I want to go back right now.
Do you collect anything?
Antiques (furniture, pottery, jewelry, coins, etc.), animal bones, moth specimens, crystals and stones.
Tea or coffee?
Coffee. Iced or hot, just black.
Congratulations on your new role, Ellen!