Missouri City’s Parks & Recreation Department continues to garner impressive awards for innovative projects and exceptional employees. During the March 19 City Council meeting, Recreation Superintendent Shane Mize was recognized for winning the Southwest Region Young Professional of the Year Award from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).
The prestigious award is given to a professional 35 years old or younger from the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and New Mexico who demonstrates the qualities and skills needed to attain positions of leadership in their field through participation in professional organizations, such as NRPA, their contributions to advancing the field, and their creativity in creating or managing programs.
Mize, along with 18 other regional and network winners, will compete for the National Young Professional of the Year Award during the NRPA’s National Congress in October.
Mize joined Missouri City in January 2011. “We feel very fortunate to have Shane on staff to lead the Recreation Division,” said Missouri City Parks & Recreation Director Larry Foos. “Shane has a diverse background in providing recreation programs and he demonstrates enthusiasm in providing quality programs and events for our citizens. We are counting on him to bring home the National award.”
Also, during the March 19 meeting, the Parks & Recreation Department was recognized for winning a state award from the Texas Recreation and Parks Society in the Innovation category for the City’s Edible Arbor Trail. In addition to this award, the Edible Arbor Trail recently received an Honorable Mention in the category of “On-the-Ground Projects” from the Houston-Galveston Area Council. The trail is the first of its kind in the region and features groves of trees and shrubs that produce edible fruits and nuts.
And, in recognition of the implementation of several outstanding programs, Missouri City’s Urban Forester Paul Wierzbicki was recently named “Arborist of the Year” by the Houston Area Urban Forestry Council. The group is made up of 43 tree professionals in the Houston region. Wierzbicki received the annual award on Jan. 19 for his recent accomplishments, including implementing the Edible Arbor Trail, Memorial Tree Program, Right Tree Trail, Community Roots Projects, Three for Trees Program, Mulch Madness projects, and several successful Arbor Day and volunteer tree planting projects. The award was open to all arborists and city foresters in the Houston-Galveston region.
Mickey Merritt with the Texas Forest Service was one of the judges and cited “the fact that Paul’s programs were unique and very innovative to this area” as a major contributing factor to his winning the prestigious award.
Wierzbicki has been with the City since March 2008, and is responsible for managing tree maintenance in City parks and around public buildings, monitoring tree inventory, citizen education programs and recycling.