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City of Idaho Falls News

Posted on: April 12, 2019

Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation Wins Prestigious IRPA Awards

Maeck Center Award

The City of Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation Department received two separate awards from the Idaho Recreation and Park Association (IRPA) at their statewide conference held in Boise this week. 

The awards, presented Tuesday evening at the IRPA awards banquet, recognize the Idaho Falls department for their accomplishments in the innovative programs category as well as in the category for outstanding parks or facilities.Up and Away

The Outstanding Innovative Program Award was presented in recognition of the department’s “Up, Up and Away” program.  The two-day camp, which is a collaboration between the Desert Eagles Model Airplane Club, Utah Helicopter School and the Civil Air Patrol, teaches youth about aeronautics and aviation.  The program also helps youth build fine motor skills as a group as they learn about aviation through model planes. 

“This is a great collaboration that helps teach kids about the wonders and science behind aviation and flight,” said Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation Director Greg A. Weitzel.  “We’re really honored to be recognized for our innovation in partnering with the community to help provide fun, hands-on STEM based learning for youth in Idaho Falls.”

The William J. Maeck Education Center at the Idaho Falls Zoo also received accolades as the recipient of the IRPA’s Outstanding Facility Award. 

The 4,400 square foot facility broke ground in July of 2018 and opened to the public in February of this year.  The facility features three classrooms, office spaces, restrooms, storage areas and a kitchen facility. 

The facility’s aesthetics were designed to complement and incorporate elements of Idaho Falls’ natural environment both inside and out.  The facility uses natural lighting and includes dark stone to represent the area’s volcanic basalt rock.  Wood timbers tie in the surrounding mountains and historic log cabins throughout Tautphaus Park.

“Not only is this facility visually stunning, the new education center is also an amazing place to teach youth about the importance of the environment and conservation,” said Weitzel. “We just can’t thank the Maeck Foundation and the Tautphaus Park Zoological Society enough for having the vision to partner with us to provide such an amazing educational facility for the residents of Idaho Falls.  We are truly honored to win two of the most coveted awards in the state for parks and recreation programs and facilities.”

The IRPA is a non-profit, professional organization with more than 200 members from municipal, county, state and federal park and recreation organizations.  The IRPA is dedicated to the promotion, development and improvement of its members through education, certification, networking and professional services. 


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