5 Questions with Stu: Greg Abbott, Section Administrator, Delaware State Parks
What motivated you to get involved in public service?
My first ten years of work experience were in banking in the private sector. This experience gave me a great opportunity to engage with other professionals who were in the service industry in the towns we served. As professionally rewarding as that work was, I felt something was missing.
As a lifelong Delawarean, I had visited and used many of our beaches and open spaces, but it wasn’t until I went to work with DNREC’s Division of Parks and Recreation that I truly began to appreciate the importance and impact that public service can have on the citizens and visitors to Delaware. As I see how lives are enhanced and changed each day by the parks, programs and amenities managed by Delaware State Parks, it motivates me daily and provides a professional and personal satisfaction that is very rewarding.
What community endeavors are you proudest to engage in?
I am really proud of the partnerships that Delaware State Parks has formed with our friends organizations around the state. These 501(c)3 nonprofits are formed by incredibly passionate supporters of their state parks to provide volunteer engagement, fundraising and advocacy. They truly become an extension of the staff at our parks and part of the State Park family. The thousands of hours of volunteer support they provide annually make a profound impact on the programs and amenities that Delaware State Parks are able to provide and we simply couldn’t do it without them. I would encourage anyone who loves their local state park to join that friends group. I can assure you that it will be a great experience and a rewarding way to give back.
How does your organization contribute to expanding opportunity for people in Delaware?
Delaware has an award-winning state park system. These parks and open spaces are an oasis for people to relax and participate in activities that promote healthy lifestyles. Examples include participating in volunteer events or becoming a friends member, environmental education and living history programs, camping and overnight accommodations, providing convenient connections to state parks for walking, biking, hiking, bird watching, equestrian trail rides, fishing, summer concert series, recreation leagues, etc. The division continues to enhance opportunities for disabled visitors to use state parks for boating, fishing, trail and beach access. In FY19, Delaware State Parks hosted more than 5.8 million visitors.
What do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities facing philanthropy today?
One of the major challenges facing philanthropy today is a societal desire for immediate results without consideration for providing the resources for protecting the natural, cultural and historical assets for future generations to enjoy. Delaware State Parks has worked diligently to establish funds for nearly every state park to ensure that private endowment funding is available to supplement and support day-to-day park operations, maintenance and programming.
If you could do one thing to increase equity in Delaware, what would you do?
I believe that providing safe and enjoyable recreational opportunities and open spaces for all Delawareans to enjoy is critical. Delaware State Parks works daily to ensure every citizen in Delaware is able to enjoy these precious jewels with no social, financial, racial or ability barriers. DNREC’s Division of Parks is proud to serve all of Delaware citizens.