For the Centennial of the National Park Service throughout 2016, rangers and other staff at all 409 parks will be working closely with community partners, local businesses, schools, and governments to celebrate a century of serving the American public. We’re reaching out to our local communities, through social media and traditional media.
Why celebrate 100 years of national parks? It’s simple: we’re asking people to discover their parks because these places matter. America’s national parks are beautiful, emotional places. Places like Gettysburg National Military Park, Flight 93 National Memorial, and the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail tell us more about who we are and help us understand history. Many parks are natural wonders that offer scenic getaways, wildlife viewing and other adventures. The centennial is about celebration, discovery and making new connections.
The 100th birthday theme is Find Your Park – a public awareness and education campaign celebrating the milestone centennial of our national parks and setting the stage for a new century of service.
Find Your Park invites you to see that a national park can be more than a place — it can be a feeling, a state of mind, or a sense of American pride. Beyond vast landscapes, the Find Your Park movement highlights historical, urban, and cultural parks, as well as the National Park Service programs that protect, preserve and share nature, culture, and history in communities nationwide.
Our birthday events include:
“Come Walk with Me” Community Wellness event – On April 30, Gettysburg National Military Park is partnering with Wellspan Health, Healthy Adams County, the Gettysburg School District, the Gettysburg Adams Chamber of Commerce, the YWCA of Gettysburg, United Way of Adams County, South Central Community Action Programs, Inc. and others to host a large-scale fitness fair and walking event at Warrior Stadium in Gettysburg, with a large, group-walk through Gettysburg National Military Park’s Culp’s Hill. Meets the NPS Call to Action 3, History Lesson, and Call to Action 6, Take a Hike; Call Me in the Morning. To learn more and register go to: http://www.adamscountycomewalkwithme.org
Gettysburg BioBlitz – Gettysburg National Military Park and grade school students from throughout the Gettysburg school district will have a BioBlitz on May 20 at Lincoln Elementary’s stadium, woodlot, and pond, and nearby national park lands. The day will include biodiversity discovery activities focusing on reptiles, amphibians, plants, birds, mammals, aquatic macro-invertebrates and potentially acoustical data from bats. The goals will be to create a new passion and excitement for the works of scientists; to create a new awareness of parks as classrooms; and to create a new generation of citizen scientists and future stewards of our parks by conducting fun, engaging, and educational biodiversity discovery activities. This program meets the NPS Call to Action 7, Next Generation Stewards.
The Gettysburg/Appomattox Centennial Student Exchange Program – Classes from Gettysburg and Appomattox Va. participate in this student exchange program, visiting and taking part in special events and programs in each other’s parks. Appomattox students came to Gettysburg for Dedication Day in November and Gettysburg students will go to Appomattox for the battle anniversary in April 2016. The program is sponsored by the National Park Service, Gettysburg Foundation, and the Appomattox Foundation. Meets the NPS Call to Action 3, History Lesson.
Presidential Paint and Wine Nights at Eisenhower NHS – The Gettysburg Foundation, Adams County Arts Council, and Eisenhower National Historic Site staff have created this popular new, after-hours arts event. The event features a tour of the Eisenhower home and a ranger talk about Eisenhower’s hobby of oil painting. Participants see some of Ike’s original works of art, followed by painting instruction and refreshments. Stay tuned for dates in May, June and August. Meets the NPS Call to Action 3, History Lesson, and Call to Action 10, Arts Afire.
Expanded Artists in-Residence programs – The 2016 program, set to coincide with the NPS Centennial, will offer eight month-long residencies at Gettysburg starting in March and continuing through early November. Artists create work inspired by their stay at the Gettysburg battlefield. Public programs will include Gettysburg’s “First Friday” events at the Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad Station. Sponsored by the National Parks Arts Foundation, the National Park Service and the Gettysburg Foundation, with support from the Adams County Arts Council. Meets the NPS Call to Action 3, History Lesson, and Call to Action 10, Arts Afire. To learn more go to: http://www.nationalparksartsfoundation.org/
Centennial Classroom Rangers – To celebrate 100 years of the National Park Service, Park Rangers and other park staff are visiting Gettysburg area schools to talk about our local National Parks (Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site), as well as the value and importance of the entire national park system. Meets the NPS Call to Action 3, History Lesson. To learn more go to: http://www.nps.gov/gett/learn/education/distance-learning.htm
Every Kid in a Park – Through special support from the Gettysburg Foundation and Gettysburg Tours, we are inviting all 4th grade students to enjoy free visits to the David Wills House at Gettysburg National Military Park and the Eisenhower National Historic Site. The program is a White House initiative. Fourth graders go to http://www.everykidinapark.gov to complete an activity and obtain a free annual entry pass to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including national parks. This program meets the NPS Call to Action 3, History Lesson.
Sometimes a birthday is just about the cake and presents; the NPS Centennial is about so much more. Special funding opportunities are providing some long lasting benefits for parks. Stewardship goals in parks often require funding or elbow grease to address long-term preservation needs, Gettysburg needs like planning better trails in the parks, for example, and projects that address over-use at Little Round Top. These are two of the legacy projects we are working on and here are several others:
- Enhancing volunteerism at Gettysburg and Eisenhower by creating a catalog or guide to volunteer opportunities at the parks to better match skills and abilities of volunteers with service learning projects in the parks;
- Using agro-tourism and the local foods movement to make connections with new audiences;
- Creating deeper connections with millennials through the Friends of Gettysburg “Recruit” program, social media projects and other efforts;
Come join us for these new programs and our well-loved, classic programs at both Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site. In 2016 we want you to Find Your Park!
Katie Lawhon, Management Assistant, January 21, 2016