Skip to content

A Successful 2024 Great Lakes Park Training Institute Concludes

Great Lakes Park Training Institute logo

The 2024 Great Lakes Park Training Institute (GLPTI) took place from February 26 to 29, 2024 with 248 registered learners in attendance in person and virtually. Known for its ‘outdoorsy flannel kitschy attitude, social learning, and comradery, GLPTI returns annually to Pokagon State Park. Mark your calendars for next year from February 25-28, 2025.

As always, GLPTI celebrated innovative regional park projects and recognized accomplished professionals at the Annual Awards Dinner, held on Tuesday February 27. The 2024 Great Lakes Park, Facility, or Program Award winners included

  • Bloomington (IN) Parks & Recreation for Switchyard Park,  and
  • the City of Rochester Hills (MI) Parks and Natural Resources for Innovations Hills Ponds, Playground, and Boardwalk.
2024 GLPTI Award winners (left to right) Cecil Penland (representing Bloomington Parks & Recreation), Michael Klitzing (Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation), and Matt Einheuser (Rochester Hills)

The Richard Lawson Award for Professional Excellence was given to Michael Klitzing of Carmel Clay (IN) Parks & Recreation for his distinguished career and continuing contributions to the park and recreation profession.

GLPTI has trained over 23,000 people from 49 states and six countries over its more than 75-year history. GLPTI has been held annually at Pokagon State Park since 1947 with the exception of 2021 when the COVID-19 pandemic moved the Institute online for the first time ever.

Educational sessions are offered in five tracks, Park and Facility Maintenance; Natural Resource Management; Natural and Cultural Interpretation; Personnel and Career Development; and Park Operations giving attendees and broad but customizable learning experience. The Garret G. Eppley Scholarship is awarded to park professionals to assist in attending the Institute. 2024 Scholarship winners were Kyle Wade of Springfield Township (MI) Parks and Lisa Leach of Portage Township (IN) Parks and Recreation. And, for the fourth year in a row, at least a portion of the conference took place online with 14 educational sessions and all ceremonies livestreamed via Zoom.

If you are interested in serving as a volunteer or have a brilliant idea to present on, let us know via email at The new year of GLPTI will start with Institute planning kicking off at the annual Board of Advisors retreat in June.