DOINews: National Park Service Director Leads Hike in Park

Last edited 09/05/2019

Group photo of Hampton University students and NPS Director Jarvis.
Hampton University students gather for a photo with National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis on March 27, 2012. Jarvis (kneeling at center and wearing a baseball cap) and the students hiked four miles along the Canal Trail in Chesapeake and Ohio National Park. (Others in photo include Joan Moody, OCO, OS, standing third from left and wearing a green shirt; Marta Kelly, NPS, standing along the fence at far right and wearing a blue jacket; and Destry Jarvis, Outdoor Recreation and Park Services, standing third from Kelly, and wearing a light-blue baseball cap.) Photo by NPS.

On March 17, Joan Moody, senior public affairs specialist in the Office of the Secretary, took National Park Service Director Jarvis up on his offer, through a recent Combined Federal Campaign auction, of giving a hike in a nearby park.

Jarvis, a man of his word, found a great weekend and hiked four miles along the Canal Trail in Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, starting at the Great Falls Tavern Visitor's Center in Potomac, Md.

The Great Falls of the Potomac have drawn people to the river's shore for centuries. To Native Americans it was a gathering place, to George Washington it was an impediment to navigation, to thousands of visitors every year it is an awe-inspiring site. Tourists have been drawn to the Great Falls of the Potomac since long before there was a canal. The Great Falls Tavern carries on a long tradition of hospitality for visitors to the C&O Canal.

The students in the photo with Jarvis are participants in the NPS Interpretation & Education, Civil Engagement Digital Storytelling, Ambassadors Pilot Program. The overall goal of this program is to assist partner organizations to build community capacity by preparing citizens as informed and engaged partners with NPS. This pilot program will continue to build a formal partnership with Hampton University for developing interpretation and education materials, themes, and program strategies “with” African American audiences instead of “for” these audiences.

The scholars, research, and curriculum expertise and staff of Hampton University will be leveraged to provide leadership development opportunities for college students to research, design, propose, and provide materials, themes, programs, and partnerships for reaching teacher audiences with relevant and meaningful connections to stories and resources in the National Park system.

These students, between ages of 18 and 24, are intensively trained on park resources and digital media to develop skill and techniques for sharing stories that highlight NPS resources. The students are tasked with reaching out to teachers with resources and workshops design in collaboration with faculty and NPS.

NPS and partner program personnel will jointly develop program plans and provide direction, and supervision for program components and outcomes. In addition, the NPS staff and respected national scholars and educators will serve as advisers and mentors to program participants, and they will review program proposals and projects for appropriateness. The year-around component will require participants to commit to training and service learning projects on selected weekends and during school breaks. We will seek education credit for service hours. Those who complete the service learning requirement and complete the training will receive a stipend

More specifically, the 2012 objectives for the ambassadors are as follows:

  • To provide feedback and programming strategies to inform NPS I&E leadership decision making to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the “I Have A Speech Dream Speech in 2013.
  • To facilitate collection of oral histories of those present during the “I Have A Dream Speech” on August 28, 1963 and other significant “Civil Rights Movement” events.
  • To incorporate these stories into Digital story telling libraries for curriculum development and program materials.
  • To identify and deliver year-round “immersion” NPS opportunities relevant for underserved audiences needs and experiences.
  • To support African Americans and the Civil War programming and learning.

The program goals are to build a resource stewardship ethic, develop participatory citizenship values, and develop leadership skills.

Approximately 30 participants met, communicated, hiked and enjoyed Jarvis' treasured love, knowledge and wisdom about his career in NPS.

The event was conducted through the coordinated efforts of Moody; Marta Kelly, WASO chief of interpretation and Education; assistant Jocelyn Cole; Destry Jarvis, president of Outdoor Recreation and Park Services; Bessie Sherman, chief of the NPS Minority University Outreach Office; Belinda Pickens, executive leadership summit coordinator for Hampton University; Vivian David, director of the Career Counseling Center at Hampton University; and Steven Cotton, assistant ambassador, Hampton and Bowie State University students.

By: Bessie Sherman, chief of the NPS Minority University Outreach Office

April 9, 2012

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