The National Park Service is focusing on improvement of its workplace culture and climate – and calling in the help of restorative justice and conflict transformation professionals from Eastern Mennonite University’s Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) program, according to a press release.
Most recently, STAR trainers conducted a training and facilitated discussion over four days in Philadelphia for 20 federal workers, including five park service superintendents. Its goal being to engage with trauma and resilience experts to help shift workplace culture and build employee satisfaction throughout park service offices in the Northeast.
The training was facilitated by STAR Lead Trainer Katie Mansfield and Jonathan Swartz, a restorative justice practitioner and Center for Justice and Peacebuilding alumnus. The participants spent two and a half days learning about the personal and organizational impacts of trauma, concepts and applications of restorative justice, self care, and secondary traumatic stress.
The remainder of the third and fourth days focused on a facilitated dialogue, during which participants could ask questions of experts in restorative justice, trauma awareness and resilience, truth and reconciliation, and organizational anthropology, including the STAR trainers themselves.
EMU professors Johonna Turner and Carolyn Stauffer, who bring expertise in trauma awareness, resilience and restorative justice, contributed to this discussion, which also included cultural anthropologists and other specialists.
One outcome of the final session was strategies and action items to create awareness, implement practices and build a new culture.
The workshop, McCown said, equipped park service staff to begin “to implement trauma-aware and restorative practices in our individual parks or program culture,” such as developing workshops for more staff.
The participants are also working to “identify ways that park leadership can foster workplaces that include restorative practices and trauma-aware leadership.”