Spring is coming early in 3/4 of national parks, according to a new study. Awesome? Not so much. As flowers bloom earlier every year, it’s disrupting the link between the wildflowers and the arrival of birds, bees, and butterflies that feed on and pollinate the flowers. In Shenandoah, an earlier spring is giving invasive plants a head start, and they’re displacing native wildflowers, leading to costly management issues.
Before the 1960s almost everything about living openly as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) person was illegal. New York City laws against homosexual activities were particularly harsh. The Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969 is a milestone in the quest for LGBT civil rights and provided momentum for a movement.
Vine Creek Ranch at Death Valley National Park. Steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley.
Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS: Secretary Jewell Underscores Importance of Youth Engagement at National Park Week Event
Office of the Secretary
Jewell, Jarvis take part in environmental education program with middle school students, convene stakeholder meeting to explore public-private partnerships at Prince William Forest Park
TRIANGLE, Va. – Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell joined National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis and students from Stonewall Middle School at Prince William Forest Park to celebrate National Park Week and highlight the importance of outdoor recreation and education, especially to young people.
Jewell also held a stakeholder meeting to explore ways to leverage public-private partnerships at national parks to better connect youth and families to nature and outdoor recreation – one of the major goals of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative – and to promote economic growth and support jobs in local communities.
“When we spark a fire of passion for the outdoors in our children, we give them a lifelong gift of being able to enjoy nature and live healthier lives,” Jewell said. “We also lay the foundation for the next generation of conservationists, scientists, business leaders, teachers and beyond that will understand the key role that national parks and public lands play in local communities, drawing visitors and boosting the economy.”
Jewell and Jarvis joined students from Stonewall Middle School in Prince William County, Va., in a residential field science program offered in partnership between Prince William Forest Park and NatureBridge. In the program, students live and learn in the park, extending classroom learning with hands-on water-testing experiments of their own design and learning about the Great Depression-era history of the park.
“It is hard to overstate the vital role our partners play in our national parks, allowing us to offer the public programs and services we otherwise could not offer,” Jarvis said. “Here at Prince William Forest Park, NatureBridge reaches out to children, especially in urban areas, and gives them a chance to hike through the woods, sit by a stream, learn about ecosystems and marvel at the miracles of the world around us.”
“We are grateful that Secretary Jewell and Director Jarvis are committed to increasing hands-on learning opportunities for students in national parks,” said Susan Smartt, CEO of NatureBridge. “One of our students this week said it best, ‘This experience has been like nothing I've done before. I never realized how much I can learn outside the classroom.'”
Prince William Forest Park is the largest green space in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, established in 1936 to provide a camp where low-income, inner-city children and families could get away and experience the great outdoors.
More than 2,000 workers with the Civilian Conservation Corps built the park – originally named the Chopawamsic Recreational Demonstration Area – and it became a model for the entire nation, one of 46 such land-use projects.
In 2009, the Department of the Interior established the Office of Youth in the Great Outdoors to provide leadership, coordination, direction, and oversight regarding the promotion, use, and expansion of programs to engage, educate, and employ youth. Since then the department has built one of the largest and most visible youth programs at the national level, employing more than 84,000 youth ages 15 to 25 through direct hires and partnerships.
Through the Let's Move! Outside and Let's Move! in Indian Country programs, which are both offshoots of the First Lady's Let's Move! Initiative, the department has provided information and opportunities for families to get active in nature – from urban parks and open spaces, to national parks, seashores, forests, and other public lands.
The department also has partnered with nonprofit organizations to promote active lifestyles through nationwide events, including National Kids to Parks Day, National Trails Day, National Get Outdoors Day, and National Public Lands Day. In 2012, these events engaged more than 300,000 youth and families in active recreation and service projects on public lands and waters.