ontario parks association

Protecting Tomorrow Today®

  • Home
  • Annual Parks Education Forum

2020 Parks Education Forum - Registration opens december 4th!

Join us for a day of parks education & networking!

Start your day off right with some delicious food at our hot breakfast buffet, then you can walk off your breakfast as you wander our mini trade show where you will have the opportunity to learn from some of our industry's most knowledgeable experts.  Re-connect or meet for the first time some of the people who spend their careers coming up with solutions to the problems that you face on a daily basis. Talk to industry experts about the issues you are trying to tackle. If they don't have an immediate tried and true solution their experience will no doubt enable them to come up with some brilliant suggestions for you to try! PLUS as a trade show attendee you will have have the chance to have your name entered into a prize draw that will take place at the end of the day!

Date: Thursday, February 27th, 2020, 7:30 AM to 3:15 PM

Location: Holiday Inn Burlington Hotel & Conference Centre

PLEASE NOTE: This event will run rain, snow or shine.

Photos from the 2019 Education Forum


No pictures to show


Session 1: Invasive Phragmites Control: Light At The End Of The Tunnel with Dr. Janice Gilbert

This presentation will focus on threats posed by Phragmites and actions being undertaken to deal with Canada's most invasive plant.

Dr. Janice Gilbert

Janice has a PhD in wetland ecology and has been investigating invasive Phragmites control methods since 2007 with a focus on sensitive habitats. She formed the Ontario Phragmites Working Group in 2011 to foster information sharing among groups dealing with Phragmites. In 2017, she established the not-for-profit Invasive Phragmites Control Centre to facilitate effective, efficient and environmentally responsible control. She is an advisor to the Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative and is a committee member for graduate students at Trent University and the University of Waterloo.

Session 2: Homelessness and Drugs in Parks with Brian Geerts

Homeless camps and drug use in parks are making a big impact in most municipalities. Who deals with these issues, and how do you safely care for those in your community? Join this discussion of strategies and public response to negative impacts of homelessness and drug use in public parks and properties.

Brian Geerts

Brian Geerts studied Ecology and Arboriculture at Fleming College, and has worked at the Hamilton Conservation Authority, Royal Botanical Gardens, Maple Hill Tree Service, and the cities of Brantford and Cambridge. He is currently completing his Master of Public Administration at Western University. Born in the sprawling metropolis of Copetown, Ontario, Brian Geerts now lives in Onondaga with his wife Laura and 3 boys. They enjoy fishing, boating, and country life.

Session 3: The In-House Rebuild of Southside West Ball Field with Trevor Warner

We have an exciting new course coming to bat in 2020. Trevor will be teaching a Practical Ball Diamond course, and is here to give you a little taste of what this course will cover, and the amazing possibilities with Ball Diamonds. Today he will be out lining the steps taken to rebuild a complete ball field, from the playing surface to backstop/fencing to dugouts.

Trevor Warner

While playing junior college baseball in Tennessee, one of our jobs as a team was to maintain the field. I enjoyed it and had a knack for it. When I returned to Canada for summer break, I found a job at the sports complex maintaining fields for the City of Welland. Upon my completion of college, I was then fortunate enough to work and learn from some of the best in the southeastern United States sports field construction and renovation industry. A year and a half later, I returned to Ontario to become the head groundskeeper for the Niagara stars which were part of the Canadian baseball league. I was also responsible for completing all the major renovations in Quebec for the league. From there, I started with Marco Clay products and worked there for 10 years. While at Marco, I completed the sports turf managers short course at the Guelph turf institute and received my certificate. I then made the change to the municipal environment with the City of Woodstock Parks department in 2014, where I then gained a full time position as their sports field skilled labourer on August 10th, 2015.

Session 4: Spray Pads - Lets get wet!! with Scott Bowron

Splash pads, the most requested piece of equipment in parks these days. This session will focus give an overview of the growth of splash pads in our communities, the value they bring with this growth, some challenges and decisions required. Circulated or once through, who will operate, and some of the associated health regulation challenges.

Scott Bowron

Scott is the president of Clear Aquatics Sales and Training. He was a facility manager, focusing on aquatics operations and maintenance for more than 20 years, has been a Certified Pool Operator (CPO) Instructor for more than 12 years, and is the instructor for the OPA Spray Pad Practitioner course . Scott gives talks across Canada on current recreation topics, and works on several technical committees.

Event Schedule:

7:00-7:30am: Vendor Set-Up

7:30-9:00am: Check-in/Breakfast/Trade Show

9:00-9:10am: Welcome

9:10-10:10am: Session 1

10:20-11:20am: Session 2

11:30am-1:00pm: Lunch/Trade Show/Awards Presentation

1:00-2:00pm: Session 3

2:10-3:10pm: Session 4

3:10-3:15pm: Closing/Contest Winner

3:15-3:30pm: Vendor Tear Down

Delegate Fees

Early Bird Rates (Register before January 31st)

OPA Member: $170.00
Potential Member: $200.00
Members Save: $30.00

Late Bird Rates (Register after February 1st)
OPA Member: $210.00
Potential Member: $240.00
Members Save: $30.00

Hotel Accommodations:
Holiday Inn Burlington - To reserve your room call 1-888-987-4888.

Book your room before January 28th to take advantage of the OPA room discount.

Rate: $124 plus taxes

Rate is based on Single/Double Occupancy. Additional person is $10.00 per room per night. Check-in time is 3:00 p.m.

Vendor Table Top Displays


Twenty-two 6' tables will be set up around the insider perimeter of our meeting room, creating an intimate networking opportunity for vendors and parks professionals. Time will be allotted prior to the official start of the day and during breaks throughout the day for event attendees to meet and chat with vendors. 

OPA Member Fees - Registration opens to members only on December 4th.

  • OPA Member Early Bird Rate: $535 (Register by January 16th)
  • OPA Member Late Bird Rate:  $575

Potential Member Fees - Registration opens to potential members January 6th.

  • Potential Member Early Bird Rate: $575 (Register by January 31st)
  • Potential Member Late Bird Rate:  $615

*Prices includes buffet breakfast and lunch for ONE. Meal tickets for additional representatives can be purchased when registering. All company representatives attending MUST be registered in advance.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Education Session Sponsor - $400 (4 available)

  • 1 Complimentary Pass to the Forum and Awards Luncheon 

  • Company Promotional Material in Participant Swag Bag

  • Recognition in Promotional Materials and at Event

  • Company Name in Green Sward

  • Company Name on OPA Website with Link

Lunch Sponsors- $300

  • 1 Complimentary Pass to the Forum and Awards Luncheon 

  • Company Promotional Material in Participant Swag Bag

  • Recognition in Promotional Materials and at Event

  • Company Name in Green Sward

  • Company Name on OPA Website with Link

Breakfast Sponsors - $200 
  • Recognition in Promotional Materials and at Event
  • Company Name in Green Sward
  • Company Name on OPA Website with Link


  • No upcoming events
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software