RCPD Park Board Commissioners & Staff

Board Commissioners

Eric Miller

Cindy Strader

Rhonda Berry

The Richland County Park District Board of Park Commissioners are appointed by the Richland County Probate judge per OH Rev Code § 1545.05. Each Commissioner is elected to a three year term as public officials and serve without pay. The RCPD Board of Park Commissioners create an annual and long term plan of operation that protects the Richland County Park District's vision.


Executive Director
Jason Larson

Jason is the Director of the Richland County Park District. He received his A.A.S. degrees in Floriculture Design and Marketing and Greenhouse Production and Management from OSU/ATI, his Bachelor’s degree in Conservation Science from Muskingum University and his MS degree in Plant and Environmental Biology from Ohio University. Jason also currently serves as a research associate and curator of the William Adams Herbarium at Muskingum University.

Jason is a life-long resident of the state of Ohio and spends a great deal of his free time bird watching and botanizing around the Great Lakes area. His love of the environment and natural history has fostered a keen interest in the conservation and preservation of Ohio’s flora, fauna and natural areas, so that future generations will be able to experience the natural wonders that Ohio has to offer.

Director of Education & Financial Manager
Karen Pryor

Karen is the Director of Education and Financial Manager for the Richland County Park District. She has her B.A. in History and Social Studies Secondary Education. However, she discovered her passion for environmental education while working as an educator at the Philadelphia Zoo in the summers during college. Karen is certified in Project WILD, Aquatic WILD, Growing Up WILD, and Project Learning Tree, and she is also an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist.

Karen is an avid birder and naturalist, who delights in sharing her passion with others, beginning with her own four children. She enjoys learning as much as she can about the natural world and getting other people excited about learning, too.

Natural Resources & Land Manager & B&O Bike Trail Manager
Larry Smithlsmith@richlandcountyoh.gov

Larry is the Director of Natural Resources & Land Management and B&O Bike Trail Manager for the Richland County Park District. He earned Bachelor’s degrees in Zoology and Entomology with minors in Botany and Natural Resources and a Master’s degree in Natural Resources Management, all from Ohio State University. Larry was a curatorial assistant at OSU’s Museum of Biological Diversity and worked for 11 years as a naturalist and environmental educator for Pine Mountain Settlement School in Kentucky, the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks (where he was Senior Naturalist), and the Gorman Nature Center. He volunteers as a preserve manager for the North Central Ohio Land Conservancy and planned the route/coordinated construction of most of the Clear Fork Valley Scenic Trail. He and his wife Elaine installed and maintain the habitats at Tugend Prairie Preserve and the Cole Road prairies.

Larry was born and raised in the same zip code the Gorman Nature Center calls home and finds it very rewarding to now be a caretaker of these same trails his own youthful feet helped wear smooth. He loves working to enhance the ecological health and aesthetic beauty of native habitats to both benefit wildlife and bring joy to park visitors. Nature photography and dulcimer playing are among his hobbies, but most of he and his wife’s free time is spent nurturing the habitats and trails on their farm near Butler.

Assistant Natural Resources & Land Manager
Jordan Tackett

Jordan is the Assistant Natural Resources & Land Manager for the Richland County Park District. He is a military veteran with six years of honorable service in the United States Air Force. 

As a native of the Clear Fork Valley, Jordan grew up close to nature and spent his youth exploring the woodlands and streams of southern Richland County. With a hunger for service, travel, and adventure, he joined the military and fulfilled tours of duty in Jordan, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Japan. After leaving the military Jordan wanted to continue serving his community, so he sought out work opportunities with nearby conservation organizations. He served hundreds of hours managing the land at Mohican State Park, Malabar Farm State Park, The Ohio Bird Sanctuary, and our very own Gorman Nature Center, then was hired on as a member of our staff in 2021.