Michelle Obama and Laura Bush to Serve as Honorary Co-Chairs of Cause to Celebrate the National Park Service Centennial in 2016

Last edited 09/29/2021

WASHINGTON (March 30, 2015) – The National Park Service and the National Park Foundation today announced the launch of Find Your Park, a public awareness and education campaign celebrating the milestone centennial anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016 and setting the stage for the next 100 years. First Lady Michelle Obama and Mrs. Laura Bush will serve as honorary co-chairs to promote the celebration of the 2016 centennial and to encourage people to connect with their favorite parks and public lands.

Find Your Park invites the public to see that a national park is more than just a place -- it can be a feeling, a state of mind, or a sense of American pride. Beyond vast landscapes, the campaign highlights historical, urban, and cultural parks, as well at the National Park Service programs that protect, preserve and share nature, culture, and history in communities nationwide. Further, Find Your Park encourages people to find their own personal connections within the network of national parks and public lands.

“National parks belong to all Americans, and I am excited to help the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation introduce more Americans to the great natural beauty, cultural heritage and historic meaning that you can find in parks,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “National parks mean different things to different people, but they belong to all of us, so I want to encourage everyone to get out there and Find Your Park.”

“Whether it's hiking at Yosemite in California, visiting the Statue of Liberty in New York, or traveling along the 54-mile trail from Selma to Montgomery, our national parks offer unparalleled opportunities to experience America, while also preserving these special places for future generations,” said Mrs. Laura Bush. “I'm honored to join the Find Your Park movement to encourage people to re-engage – or engage for the first time – with the national parks and their programs.”

As co-chairs, Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Bush will engage young Americans, connecting them with parks and National Park Service programs, and encouraging them to share Find Your Park stories and experiences. The campaign to connect national parks with the next generation comes at a critical time, with fewer than 13% of park visitors under the age of 30 according to a study conducted by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation. The study also found that while approximately 80% of Americans have heard of the National Park Service, only 38% are at all familiar with the organization and all that they do.

“There is something for everyone in our 407 national parks, whether it is the breathtaking landscapes or the historical and cultural sites that tell the story of our country,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “As we approach the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service, this is a perfect time for all Americans – especially young people - to Find Your Park, from neighborhood parks to national parks and all public lands in between.”

“The centennial is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the National Park Service to reflect on our accomplishments and to use all of our parks and programs to connect all Americans and visitors from around the world with the natural, cultural and historic treasures in our care,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis,. “As a new generation responds to Find Your Park, I am confident that this campaign will have a powerful impact that will last into our next 100 years.”

“We believe that Find Your Park will inspire people everywhere to engage more deeply and more often with the National Park Service and its transformative work in communities across the country,” said National Park Foundation Interim President Dan Wenk. “By connecting the next generation with our national parks in meaningful ways, we are building a movement that will help ensure that these special places are protected well beyond the next 100 years.”

Bill Nye (scientist), Bella Thorne (TV and film actress), Roselyn Sanchez (TV and film actress), Terrence J. (TV personality) and Mary Lambert (singer/songwriter and LGBT advocate) are helping to reach the next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates. To inspire participation in the Find Your Park movement, each of them has filmed and shared their own personal national park story at different places across the country:

  • Bill Nye at Statue of Liberty National Monument, General Grant National Memorial, Castle Clinton National Monument
  • Bella Thorne at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
  • Roselyn Sanchez at Golden Gate National Recreation Area
  • Terrence J. at Yosemite National Park
  • Mary Lambert at Boston National Historical Park

“There are 407 national parks, monuments and historic sites that need to be protected and preserved,” said Bill Nye. “I've said that ‘science' is the best idea humans ever had and we need to understand the impact climate change will have on our national parks so we can protect and preserve ‘America's Best Idea' beyond the centennial of the National Park Service.”

“I found my park practically in my backyard – at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area with my sister,” said Bella Thorne. “I hope that through Find Your Park, people my age will rediscover the national parks and be inspired to volunteer and truly understand the importance of preservation.”

“My husband and I were married at San Juan National Historic Site in my native Puerto Rico, and I have a deep connection to the national parks through my Hispanic community and heritage,” said Roselyn Sanchez. “I feel centered when I am in a national park, through hiking, biking, running and yoga, and I can't wait to pass these memories on to my family.”

“As a city kid, there was something truly magical about finding my park at Yosemite National Park which has a vastness and natural beauty I've never experienced before,” said Terrence J. “It also inspired me to explore parks in urban areas that focus more on culture and history. National parks aren't always the sprawling landscapes you normally think about… and many of them are closer than you think.”

“Parks can be much more than a place – they can foster a state of mind that inspires me to create some of my best poetry with those I love,” said Mary Lambert. “And, they are also places that tell my story too. I'm grateful to the National Park Service for their efforts to tell a more inclusive story that commemorates the places and events that honor LGBT history.”

At the heart of this engagement is the public invitation to share park experiences and memories at, which will feature an interactive gallery of inspirational stories from the general public, National Park Service employees, and celebrities. Content will be socialized with #FindYourPark. Also on is a searchable list of ideas for ways to find your park, including in-park and digital activities.

Some of the most recognizable brands in the world are supporting the National Park Foundation's efforts as partners of Find Your Park, including American Express, Budweiser, Subaru, REI, Humana and Disney. Additional partners include Coleman, Coca-Cola and Accenture.

The National Park Foundation is working with GREY NY, one of the world's leading advertising and communications agencies, to develop and implement the integrated campaign. Find Your Park will include a stream of programs, exhibits, events and public activities throughout 2015 and 2016 that will encourage everyone to find their park.


More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 407 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at:


The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America's national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at

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