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A Party for Our Parks

April 2, 2015 in 2016, Connecting People to Parks

The National Park Service turns 100 next year. What will the birthday party be like? Wild, of course! The first gift, though, is from the parks to the people: During the next school year, the Every Kid in a Park initiative will allow all fourth-grade students and their families to visit national parks, national monuments, and all other nationally protected lands for free. But then our national parks have always been giving people something that money can’t buy: The chance to experience some of our planet’s most special and spectacular places.

Of course, the Sierra Club and the National Park Service go way back. In fact, the Park Service’s first director, Stephen Mather, was an active member and honorary vice-president of the Sierra Club. And let’s face it, there wouldn’t be nearly as many parks to service were it not for Sierra Club conservation giants like David Brower and Edgar Wayburn, along with thousands of less famous but equally dedicated volunteers. So we’re ready to help get the party going.

To help celebrate this 100th anniversary, the Sierra Club plans to party down with 100 outings. Here’s the thing, though — we won’t limit ourselves to national parks. National parks are but one part of a national network of natural places that ranges from neighborhood parks to vast wildernesses. We are going to celebrate all of them because all of them have a role to play. And the role of what we call “nearby nature” is actually growing in importance.

With all the talk of growing income inequality in this country, it’s worth noting that there’s also a nature inequality. Just about anyone can appreciate and benefit from being in nature, but not everyone has equal opportunities to do so. Currently, 80 percent of Americans live in urban areas, many with limited opportunities to experience nature. The work that Sierra Club volunteers have been doing for decades to take urban kids on outings has reaffirmed the difference exposure to nature can make a hundred times over. For America’s parks to thrive for the next 100 years, they need to be accessible to all Americans, not just the traditional users of the past century.

One way we can make that happen is by reminding people that there’s more to our park system than iconic destinations like Yosemite and Yellowstone. Many national parks are urban sites such as the Statue of Liberty, Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Little Rock Central High School, and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Your nearest national park may be close enough, in fact, to qualify as a local outing. My family loves to camp. We’re packing up tonight, in fact, for a trip to Big Sur with friends. It turns out we have 10 national park destinations less than a two-hour drive from our home. How do I know this? By using the “Find Your Park” web tool that the National Park Service launched today. It’s great because it helps you find parks that are not only nearby but also relevant to your interests and abilities.

Another way to close the nature gap is to grow the network of nearby natural places that people can access easily. That’s why the Sierra Club is investing in trail projects that improve access to nature in urban areas. In Louisiana, for instance, we’re working with the local Vietnamese community and other partners to help create a trail that will connect New Orleans East to Bayou Sauvage, the largest urban wildlife refuge in America.

The importance of parks that people can reach from where they live is also why we were so excited by the designation of San Gabriel Mountains National Monument last October. The San Gabriels, which border Los Angeles, are less than 90 minutes from home for at least 15 million people. Many people worked for years to make that designation possible, but protecting those mountains has the potential to change countless lives.

We’re lucky. Over the past 150 years, we have protected a network of public lands in this country that is the envy of the entire world, and our national parks are the jewels in that crown. Let’s make sure that in the coming decades we both guard this natural legacy and ensure that it is available to all Americans.

 

NPS Program Helps Reimagine Urban Trails in Los Angeles

April 7, 2014 in Connecting People to Parks, Education

On March 10, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell caught a sneak peek of a new interactive mobile website being developed by a dynamic group of community partners who are reimagining urban trails in Los Angeles. Joined by a dozen students from nearby Franklin High School who worked on the project, Secretary Jewell utilized the mobile website to guide her on a 1-mile walking tour from the historic birthplace of Los Angeles at El Pueblo to the Los Angeles State Historic Park.

The walking tour began at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area’s new outreach office located in the heart of El Pueblo, providing an opportunity for Secretary Jewell and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to see how the National Park Service is enhancing its commitment to serving the diverse communities of urban LA.

From there, directional arrows and mileage counters on the mobile website navigated the group to various “hotspots” where site-specific historic images and interpretive information about important cultural landmarks were displayed. In some spots, the website challenged participants to climb a flight of stairs nearby or use an open plaza to complete a series of yoga stretches, building additional physical activity with discrete health benefits into the user’s experience.

The urban trails project began in 2011 when staff from the National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program engaged a group of 60 students from Franklin High School’s transportation academy to develop ideas for connecting the community to local urban park spaces in Los Angeles. The students developed a concept for a network of urban trails that would link historic neighborhoods, cultural sites, and nearby natural resources to a centralized “community trailhead” located at the 32-acre Los Angeles State Historic Park (LASHP).

The students’ work inspired local partners from the City of Los Angeles’ Planning Department, California State Parks, the California Endowment, UCLA’s Interpretive Media Lab, and the National Park Service to explore how this trail network could be formalized. Ultimately, the California Endowment provided funding for the development of a pilot “LASHP Trails” mobile website to be released publicly in April 2014.

Unique from some other digital trail applications, the LASHP Trails mobile website has been designed as a tool of discovery, not just wayfinding. It requires you to be in a physical location to “unlock” content, emphasizing the importance of actually going out to experience and explore a place in person. This framework was critical to all partners involved, where the express intent had been to develop a model tool that utilizes the flexibility and interactivity of digital media to promote exploration and connection to local urban park spaces.

The urban trails project supports several National Park Service Call to Action priorities—from engaging youth, to promoting healthy recreation, to enhancing access to close-to-home outdoor spaces—all within the context of one of the largest and most dense urban settings in the country.

Life and Legacy of Dr. Carter G. Woodson

February 28, 2014 in Connecting People to Parks

 

“If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.” – Dr. Carter G. Woodson

 

At a time when the contributions of African Americans were dismissed as irrelevant to the American narrative, Dr. Carter G. Woodson challenged this premise. His role in the founding of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) and the creation of what is now African American History Month led many to recognize him as the “Father of Black History.”

Now let’s take a moment to reflect on the life and legacy of this distinguished leader together.

Dr. Woodson was born on December 19, 1875 in New Canton, Virginia, the son of former slaves, James Henry and Anne Eliza Woodson. As a young man, he joined the manual labor workforce in order to help his family survive. Throughout his life – a life distinguished by unforgettable achievements – he maintained his working-class identity. He knew first-hand the experiences that African Americans faced.

In 1912, he became the second African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University. This achievement was even more extraordinary considering he had been denied access to public education until he moved to Huntington, West Virginia, when he was 19 years old.

Recognizing the need for an accurate representation of the contributions of African Americans, Dr. Woodson and his colleagues established the ASNLH in 1915, later named the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. To ensure an outlet for the publication of works of African American scholarship, he founded Associated Publishers, Inc. in 1922. He directed the operations of both ASNLH and its publishing agency from his house in Washington, D.C.

Throughout his life, Dr. Woodson worked to develop a philosophy built on inclusion, multiculturalism, and racial harmony. His home quickly became a cultural center and a focal point of the Harlem Renaissance period, a national movement of cultural enlightenment in the African American community.

The home was often visited by elite scholars, thinkers, and world leaders including Alain Locke, W.E.B. Du Bois, Mary Church Terrell, Mary McLeod Bethune, and Arthur Alfonso Schomburg. In 1925, the struggling poet, Langston Hughes, worked for Dr. Woodson assisting him with wrapping and mailing books, answering the mail, reading proofs, and the general operation of the office.

In 1926, Dr. Woodson established Negro History Week during the second week in February to coincide with the birthday of President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

After Dr. Woodson passed away in 1950, the home continued to serve as the national headquarters of ASALH until 1971. The Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site is now one of more than 400 national parks in our National Park System. (This park is currently closed for restoration, but interpretive and education programs about this great American are available through the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site).

In 1976, Dr. Woodson’s Negro History Week was expanded to an entire month and continues to be celebrated today.

Thank you for sharing this moment of reflection with us. We invite you to join us in honoring Dr. Woodson’s legacy this month and throughout the year.

Joy G. Kinard, Ph.D., is the Central District Manager at National Capital Parks- East, Central District Parks: Mary McLeod Bethune Council House NHS, Carter G. Woodson Home NHS, The Capitol Hill Parks, James Creek Marina, Buzzard Point Marina, and Langston Golf Course.

Photo credits: National Park Service, Scurlock Collection at the National Museum of American History, and the West Virginia Historical Society.

 

African American Legacy in National Parks ‘From Sea to Shining Sea’

February 14, 2014 in Connecting People to Parks

We were strolling down the main street of the quaint old town of Skagway, bordered by the blue of its cruise-ship laden deepwater port and the greenery of mountains sweeping up to the sky. Suddenly Frank and I felt a bolt of lightning go through us when the Park Ranger leading our tour said, “And this is where the Buffalo Soldiers. . .”

We stopped dead in our tracks, so suddenly that the people behind bumped into us. I felt a rushing in my ears and I could see from the look on my husband’s face that he was equally stunned.

“What did you say?” I asked the Ranger. “The Buffalo Soldiers were here? When?!”

“Yes,” he said mildly. “When gold was discovered in the Yukon Gold Fields in the late 1890s, the Buffalo Soldiers were sent here to keep the peace.”

A shiver of delight ran through me. It was, as our most famous ranger Shelton Johnson describes, “like running into family in a foreign country.”

Most surprising of all, Frank and I thought we already knew ALL the units in the National Park System that are a legacy from the Buffalo Soldiers. We had ‘met’ them at Fort Davis National Historical Site in Texas where, from 1867 they protected the Western Migration along the San Antonio-El Paso Road, and constructed 91 miles of telegraph wire connecting east to west. We’d honored them at the Presidio of San Francisco from whence they rode up to the Sierra Nevada Mountains to protect the newly-formed Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park in 1903, and we felt their presence in Yosemite Valley as we admired the ‘Range of Light” they guarded in 1904.

But we had never before heard that they were in Alaska!

This is the great joy of knowing the National Park System, and the source of my chagrin that more Americans – and particularly Americans of color – do not know these sacred treasures that literally enable us to walk proudly in the footsteps of our ancestors. It was sheer chance that Frank and I “discovered” the system in 1995, as we spent 8 weeks gallivanting around the country, driving from the Atlantic to the Pacific and exploring parts between. The moment I set eyes on my first national park – Acadia in Maine – I was transformed into an advocate to let all America know the beauty, wonder, history and sense of liberation to be found in our exquisite natural treasures.

The black history and the stories of African Americans’ contributions to the development of our country that are protected in our National Park System at the very place where it happened is a completely unexpected bonus. Who knew that in Boston National Historic Park, I could stand on the spot where Crispus Attucks fell, the black man whose life was taken with the first shot of the Revolutionary War? Who knew that at Valley Forge National Historical Park in Pennsylvania, I could walk in the footsteps of my black ancestors who served in Col. George Washington’s Continental Army, and suffered the privations of hell alongside their fellow soldiers in the fateful winter of 1777-78? Who knew that I could explore the subterranean territories of Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky with my grandson and the great-grandson of enslaved Africans who were the first to explore the caves from the 1830s? Or, that I could go glass-bottom boating in Biscayne National Park, Florida, the largest marine park in the system which is available to us because of a black man whose parents named him “Sir Lancelot” Jones to encourage lofty deeds?

And this is only the tip of the iceberg. After 19 years dedicated to bringing our park treasures to the attention of the urban-based and more youthful public, we are overjoyed to find that the movement is exploding across the country. From the famed Team Denali of black mountaineers aged 19-57 who attempted to reach the summit of Mount Denali last year (they reached 19,600 feet before weather turned them back); to the focused efforts of Bay Area-based Outdoor Afro that has established groups around the country that organize and lead eco-tours for their peers, to the Greening Youth Foundation in Atlanta that prepares young people to take their rightful place as stewards of our national parks, forests and wildlife preserves, we are seeing a glorious expansion of interest and attachment to our precious publicly-owned lands.

The Buffalo Soldiers who tamed the wild frontier town of Skagway could only look forward and work toward the day when all Americans would have equality of respect and opportunity. Today, when that vision is closer than ever to being realized, I look forward to the day when all Americans know, love, enjoy and treasure our national parks and publicly-owned lands.

(Longtime environmental advocate Audrey Peterman and her husband Frank are authors of “Legacy on the Land:A Black Couple Discovers Our National Inheritance and Tells Why Every American Should Care” and other works. www.legacyontheland.com)

Secretary Jewell partners with IMPACT for MLK Weekend of Service

January 27, 2014 in Connecting People to Parks, Preservation, Uncategorized

At the conclusion of his now famous, “I Have a Dream Speech,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. pressed America to let freedom ring from the “prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire,” from the “mighty mountains of New York,” from the “heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania,” and throughout the nation.  Dr. King referenced the natural beauty of America as a backdrop to his dream of freedom, equality, and brotherhood.  The speech was given at a National Park – the Lincoln Memorial, and the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” that Dr. King culminated took place on public lands.

As beneficiaries of both the dream and the natural beauty of our nation, we have a responsibility to be good stewards of our national parks and public lands.  In this spirit, during the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend of Service, Secretary Sally Jewell and several DOI staff joined the National Park Service and their partner IMPACT to engage in a beautification project at and around the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

IMPACT is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to engage and build a network of young professionals of color to foster civic engagement, increase knowledge of the political and legislative processes, and enhance economic empowerment opportunities.  IMPACT is proud to continue supporting NPS in ensuring that the MLK Memorial and National Mall are as beautiful as the words spoken Dr. King.  The Secretary’s involvement in these service activities signals the importance of honoring the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and ensuring that America’s national parks and public lands are preserved for future generations.

Playing Outside in January

January 14, 2014 in Connecting People to Parks

Girls on a Ticket to Ride field tripJanuary in Minnesota: a time and place to grumble about the weather or to embrace the possible joys of cold and snow. I am the embracing type and this is why I am so excited about the park’s winter outdoor clubs. Thanks to a grant from the National Park Foundation, with support from Disney, and the Mississippi River Fund, the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area has been giving elementary students from Saint Paul Public Schools a Ticket to Ride to their national park. This ‘ticket’ includes bus rides for fall field trips, fishing clubs, and winter outdoor clubs. In total the program reaches over 600 students with in-depth programming on the Mississippi River.

I want to share about the park’s winter outdoor clubs and why they are important for keeping Minnesota winter traditions and children strong. The winter outdoor clubs’ goals are to get students excited and engaged with winter outdoor exploration. These seem like pretty easy goals to reach, given that kids naturally want to run and play outside. The challenge comes from the fact that we live in society where the ‘outdoors’ are becoming removed from everyday life. In fact, the outdoors are a scary place for some and in winter time the outdoors are often viewed as both scary and unpleasant.

The outdoor clubs work to challenge these views. Yes, cold temperatures and wind chills deserve consideration in terms of dress and time spent outside. And, yes our winter so far has been full of very cold temperatures. But there are many days when you can still go out and play. We live in Minnesota; if our children don’t learn how to have fun outside in winter this starts a bad trend of kids spending almost all of their time indoors. Nature becomes an abstract concept and inactivity increases.

The outdoor clubs give students a foundation for winter fun that they can use their whole lives. The clubs start with a ‘winter fashion show’ where students walk down the classroom runway wearing as many layers as they can fit on. We emphasize that layers don’t need to be expensive; pajama pants under sweat pants work just fine.

In addition to dressing for winter success, the club teaches students about Minnesota winter traditions, like tracking animals in the snow, going snowshoeing, and making snow angels. We show students how to get to some of the best places in the cities for winter fun: Mississippi River parks. We also are inviting families to join students for special outings, like our upcoming Junior Ranger Day, so families can participate in some of the activities their kids have been enjoying, and hopefully begin incorporating winter outdoor fun into their family lives.

Instead of seeing the winter ice, snow, and cold as a burden, the outdoor clubs work to keep Minnesota traditions of winter exploration alive. We know that keeping families engaged with the outdoors will help them stay active and healthy as well as working to develop stewards of nature.

A large part of the outdoor club’s success is thanks to partnerships and volunteer leadership. Dedicated National Park Service volunteers are joining and co-leading events so that we can reach more students. Our hope is to be able to expand the outdoor clubs with the continued help and support of volunteers.

Furthermore, we are able to support outdoor club programming that lasts beyond winter with fall and spring fishing clubs through a partnership with the Department of Natural Resources’ MinnAqua program. Partnerships and volunteers are some of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Areas’ biggest strengths. Thanks in large part to strong partnerships, our park reaches over 20,000 students a year in educational programming, including a growing number of winter programs. Wow!

To close, I would like to ask you to also keep our Minnesota winter traditions strong. Find a day this week when it’s above zero, put on a whole bunch of layers, and go do something outside with your family that you can only do in winter!

To find out about opportunities to experience Mississippi National River and Recreation Area all year long, bookmark missriverfund.org/events.

This blog post was reposted with permission from the Mississippi River Fund

 

Beyond BioBlitz

October 21, 2013 in Connecting People to Parks

Preserving biodiversity—from a beetle to a grizzly bear—allows us to understand how the pieces of an ecosystem fit together and helps us to detect long term changes in our environment. The NPS Biodiversity Discovery program provides opportunities, such as bioblitzes, for professional scientists to join with people of all ages and backgrounds, especially next generation stewards, in the discovery of living organisms in our national parks. These efforts not only provide better information for managing resources, they also provide opportunities for people to experience the thrill and excitement of scientific discovery.  Since the beginning of the Call to Action, at least 83 parks of all sizes, including cultural, urban, and wilderness parks, have engaged in biodiversity discovery efforts of multiple levels and scopes. These efforts have involved more than 17,500 participants and resulted in the discovery of approximately 5,200 species.

A key part of the NPS Biodiversity Discovery Program and Call to Action Item #7 (Next Generation Stewards) is a ten year collaboration with the National Geographic Society in which a large scale BioBlitz is accomplished each year in a different NPS unit. The 2013 NPS/NGS effort took place in Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. Nearly 3,000 people joined in the adventure. Despite heat, humidity, and hungry mosquitoes, BioBlitz participants walked trails and cruised waterways to inventory the Barataria Preserve’s wetlands. As the field trip handouts said, “Look up! Look down! Look all around!” The payoff was a big one: 458 species positively identified in 24 hours (scientists are still working on some of the trickier ones), smiles, stories, and a new appreciation of the world around us.

During the BioBlitz, the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation initiated a “Collaborative Storytelling Project,” to capture stories about participants making connections with nature, and how people are inspired and transformed by this connection. This project resulted in a video “Inspired by Nature,” and includes interviews with two of the NPS Biodiversity Youth Ambassadors: Ben Clark and Parker Hopkins. The Ambassadors are also highlighted on the Foundation’s website. The National Geographic Society has also just released a video,“Imani’s BioBlitz,” showcasing the experiences of a 7 year old girl from Bridgeport, Connecticut. “BioBlitz 2013 was a lot of work, but it was all worth it,” said Dusty Pate, Jean Lafitte’s natural resource program manager and leader of the park’s BioBlitz team. “Those kids’ reactions are exactly what we were looking for. It feels good to know we changed some lives.”


From the Civil War to Civil Rights

July 3, 2013 in Connecting People to Parks, Uncategorized

The Civil War to Civil Rights commemorations officially began in February 2011 with the Lincoln Inaugural Journey that culminated in the arrival of President-elect Abraham Lincoln, portrayed by actor Fritz Klein, in Washington, D.C. by train just as he did a century and a half earlier.

Former Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar commented, “The sesquicentennial of the Civil War is a time to commemorate those who fought and died during this pivotal era in American history. At the same time it is an opportunity for us to renew our commitment to the ongoing march for freedom and equality for all people.”

We remember the shots fired at Fort Sumter and the fabric of our nation torn asunder by the institution of slavery. We talk about the struggle for emancipation and at what “cost” from many perspectives. We also recognize that at this particular moment in time, we have the opportunity to commemorate a war in this nation to free people from human bondage and, at the same time, to honor the hard won progress of  civil rights for many of those people declared to be free in the war that occurred a century before.  We must use this opportunity to talk about that time when freedom was not honored and the struggle for civil rights began. We must understand how those thoughts and values continue to prevail, and how we use lessons from the past to guide us in making better choices for our future.

Now we stand on the threshold of the high water mark of those commemorations, and much has been done to continue to bring these stories forward.  As part of our commemorations, the National Park Service has upgraded sixteen interpretive media projects, produced eight new publications, created over 500 real and virtual trading cards and held five signature events with nearly eleven more still being planned. This year we are commemorating the Siege of Vicksburg and the Battle of Gettysburg, two events that will bring thousands of visitors to the parks.

NPS has expanded the use of social media to engage new audiences and provide opportunities for many unable to physically visit, but still want to be part of the events. The March on Washington, in August, will enable us to continue our work within this thematic framework and engage youth by participating in an oral history project. They will learn about “Keeping the Dream Alive,” making informed choices and having their voices heard through non-violent means. Later, in the fall, we will reflect upon Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and his immortal words…

”It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that this government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from this earth.”

Our National Parks and their partners have brought everything they have to the table in a time when resources were tight and expectations were soaring. Through collaboration, they discovered the value and longevity in the partnerships they built. The communities we have built – internally and externally – will sustain our goals well into the future and far beyond our initial expectations. The success of our outreach will be measured by the children who are sitting in pre-school and elementary classrooms today and will lead our bicentennial commemoration in the future. Only then will we know if we have made these stories relevant and created stewards for future generations.

Michelle Obama Talks About National Parks

May 23, 2013 in Connecting People to Parks

Did anyone read the interview with Michelle Obama in yesterday’s Chicago Tribune? It is titled “Taking the Kids: Tips from the First Lady on staying active on vacation”. The reporter asked the First Lady a series of questions including, “How can families be more active on vacation this summer?” and one of the ideas she suggested is visiting national parks! When asked about her favorite national park, the First Lady said:

“We are blessed to live in a country that has so many unique national parks and each one has so much to offer. We have gorgeous, awe-inspiring parks such as Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, which I actually went to for the very first time as first lady. It was amazing.

But the thing I love to remind people is you don’t have to go far to find a national park. There are national parks all around the country — some maybe even in your own backyard — that are there for families to enjoy year-round.”

We love that the First Lady said this and we know that we all agree that one doesn’t have to travel far to find a national park. But what are we currently doing (as a national park community) and what can we do better to help spread this idea to the masses? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Ten Teens Win Expressions of Freedom National Art Competition

April 25, 2013 in Connecting People to Parks

Art is just one way to explore your national parks during National Park Week (April 20-28, 2013).  The National Park Service, in partnership with the National Park Foundation’s African American Experience Fund, announced this week the winners of the Expressions of Freedom National Art Competition.  Ten teenagers from communities around the nation have won scholarships and national recognition for their art commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

The competition is an example of the creative ways in which arts can be used to connect youth to history and explore relevance for today, as described in Call to Action #10 Arts Afire.

Ten winners and eight honorable mentions were selected from more than 250 student submissions in three categories: photography, poetry and digital short films.  Students between the ages of 13-18 years were challenged to answer the question, “What does freedom mean to you?”

The first place winners are:

Arianna Martinez, 17 years old from Tuscon, Ariz. for photography;

 

Evan Gedrich and Joshua Peace, 16 years old from Brick, N.J. for digital short film;

 

Afoma Okoye, 17 years old from Kennesaw, Ga. for poetry.

 

Dreams Too Sweet

Each night my heart beats a thousand times.
I Fear it will stop at night
Because my dreams are too sweet
It doesn’t rain and the sun always shines. (Cont.)

 

The nationwide student artistic competition offered youth an opportunity to connect with the many national parks that tell the stories of the nation’s journey from Civil War to civil rights. Competitors used their art to explore the enduring themes of our nation’s struggles for freedom and equality for all.

To see the full list of winners and honorable mentions, please visit: aaexperience.org/expression-freedom-contest-winners.  For more information on the Expressions of Freedom competition, please visit: www.nps.gov/nama/forkids/expressions-of-freedom.htm.