Posted by: Kirsten | Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Inspiring a Lifelong Passion for the Parks

From an NPS press release:

Life-long passion leads to permanent display

Beginning the week of June 1, Saratoga National Historical Park will premiere a newly created permanent display: a model relief map of the Battle of Saratoga. The map was created by a park visitor and former volunteer, Dave Calhoun, whose visit to the park many years ago as a 5th grade student inspired his lifelong love of history and model making. This passion resulted in his building a new battlefield relief map for the park Visitor Center. For more information, please contact Gina Johnson at 518/664-9821 ext. 227.

How will your kids be inspired when you visit the parks and historic sites of the National Park Service?

Parke Diem!
— Jon

Posted by: Kirsten | Wednesday, 1 April 2009

First Weekend in April a Busy One!

Get Busy!

21st Annual Potomac Watershed clean up (Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia) — The National Parks will join in the annual Potomac Watershed Cleanup from 9 a.m. to noon on April 4. The Potomac River provides 480 million gallons of drinking water to the Washington area and 100 millions of ground water to rural regions. Since 1989, more than 40,000 volunteers have teamed with 300 partner organizations to tug over 1,500 tons of trash from the watershed’s streams, rivers and bays. For more information, please contact Toni Braxton at 202/619-7174.

Monocacy National Battlefield clean up day (Maryland) — Volunteers are invited to participate in the annual clean up from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 4. Individuals or groups have an opportunity to join National Park Service staff in caring for one of America’s special treasures. A ranger program will be provided at the conclusion of the event. Register by calling 301/662-3515. For more information, please contact Toni Braxton at 202/619-7174.

Bell & History Days (Maryland) — Monocacy National Battlefield will join other Historic Consortium sites in opening the spring season with emphasis on Frederick, Maryland’s contributions to local and national history with Bell & History Days, April 4 and April 5.

Activities will include a model train display illustrating the railroad’s vital role in the Civil War. Ranger programs are scheduled at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, please contact Barbara Justice at 301/662-3515.

Shiloh tribute to Civil War battle (Tennessee) — On April 4 and 5, Civil War reenactors will establish a Confederate camp at Shiloh National Military Park in honor of the 147th anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh. This living history weekend will include the battlefield encampments, live-fire historic weapon and tactical demonstrations, naval presentations and Civil War era music. Cost is $3 per person; $5 per family. For event information, call the Shiloh Battlefield Visitor Center at 731/689-5696. For more information, please contact Joe Davis at 731/689-5696.

Posted by: Kirsten | Tuesday, 24 March 2009

2009 Junior Ranger Essay Contest


From an NPS press release:

WASHINGTON, DC (March 24, 2008) – The National Park Foundation is proud to announce the launch of the 2009 Junior Ranger Essay Contest, asking youth across the country to share their big ideas on how to protect and preserve America’s National Parks. This year, the National Park Foundation is asking students aged 9 to 12 this question: Why are our national parks important to you and what is your best idea to protect our parks for the future?

The First Prize winner will receive a $1,000 Visa gift card and the opportunity to direct a $5,000 contribution from the National Park Foundation to his or her favorite national park. This contribution will be used to help put into action big ideas like those included in the winning essay.

Kids aged 9 to 12, with the help of a parent or guardian, have through May 1, 2009 to submit an essay of no more than 500 words. Entries may be submitted online at or by mail at:

National Park Foundation
ATTN: 2009 National Park Foundation Junior Ranger Essay Contest
1201 Eye Street NW
Suite 550-B
Washington, DC 20005

The 2009 National Park Foundation Junior Ranger Essay Contest is sponsored by Unilever, Proud Partner of America’s National Parks, as part of its ongoing commitment to the National Park Junior Ranger program. To submit your entry online and view the official rules, visit

Posted by: Kirsten | Monday, 2 March 2009

San Diego’s Grunions… Hold the Onions!

Somewhere near San Diego… 

On certain spring nights, hundreds of small, silvery fish called grunion ride the waves onto some Southern California beaches to spawn. This unusual mating ritual is a must-see! Join Dr. Karen Martin, Executive Director of the Grunion Greeters and Birch Aquarium Instructors as they guide you through an unforgettable night of activities. Learn more than you imagined about grunion and experience the excitement of watching grunion hatch right before your eyes! Prepare for cool, wet conditions and bring a flashlight.

When: Saturday, 28 March 2009
Start: 10:00 pm   End: 12:00 midnight
Audience: Middle school and high school students, families, teachers, adults, and science professionals

Pre-Registration Required: Space is limited. Attendees must make a reservation to attend by calling the Birch Aquarium reservation department at 858-534-7336.

Posted by: Kirsten | Saturday, 28 February 2009

Infant-tree Planting at Antietam Nat’l Battlefield

Antietam East Woods Planting

(Maryland) — Antietam National Battlefield will begin planting hardwood seedlings to restore the historic East Woods on March 14. Volunteers, including school, scout and other groups and individuals, are invited to help with the planting which will continue on Tuesdays through Saturdays until early May.

Bring work gloves — all other tools and materials will be provided.  For more information, please contact Joe Calzarette or Lindsey Donaldson at 301/432-2243.

Posted by: Kirsten | Friday, 27 February 2009

Living History at San Francisco Maritime NHP

Get “Decked Out” in San Francisco!

Living History Program season opens in San Francisco (California) — Join costumed Living History Program volunteers on the second Saturday of each month, through November, at San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park as they re-create maritime life in the year 1901.

Events will take place at Hyde Street Pier, aboard historic vessels and on the pier. Details can be found by calling 415/447-5000 or emailing living History Program coordinator David Hirzel at: For more information, please contact John Cunane at 415/561-7170.


Great homeschooling idea — consider volunteering and play the part of 1901 characters on the docks of San Francisco!

Parke Diem!
— Jon

Posted by: Kirsten | Monday, 22 December 2008

Kwanzaa Celebration at African Burial Ground Nat’l Monument

African Burial Ground National Monument — Kwanzaa celebration

African Burial Ground National Monument will host a special day-long workshop on December 30 in honor of Kwanzaa, an African American and Pan-African holiday which celebrates family, community, and culture. Celebrated from December 26 through January 1, its origins are in the first harvest celebrations of Africa from which it takes its name. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili, the most widely spoken African language. The workshop will feature hands-on activities that celebrate the cultural traditions of the African Diaspora.

Uncovering the Story of the African Burial Ground through Archeology is designed to help students learn more about archeology by examining replica artifacts from the African Burial Ground. This workshop is being offered at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm.

A Kuba cloth workshop will be given by Vickie Frémont. She will talk to participants about the art of African cloth and give participants the opportunity to create their own piece of Kuba cloth. This workshop is being offered at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm.

Wilkes University professor Rashidah Ismaili AbuBakr will present a writing workshop that encourages each family or participant to document recollections of family history, places, and things in their lives that have shaped who and what they are. All participants are asked to bring photographs and small important objects such as jewelry or cloth to weave into your story. These stories and memoirs will be written with the hope that participants will continue to tell their families’ stories.

This workshop is being offered at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm.

An African dance and drumming workshop is being conducted by Khadyjah Alleyne, a native New Yorker trained in Senegal and Guinea and the only African American Master Drummer in the group Amazones, an all female drumming company. In this workshop, participants will learn about drumming rhythms and traditional African dance. This workshop will be offered at 2:30 pm.

Evening Performance: Lonnie Youngblood and the Blood Brothers Band

T. Rasul Murray will read excerpts from his poem The Procession which uses the celebration of the return of the ancestral remains from Howard University in 2003 as a lens to view the lives of Africans who lived when the burial ground was in use from the 1690s until 1794. The evening performance is free, however reservations are required. This program begins at 7:00 pm.

Lady Cantrese and Friends will take the audience on a musical journey. This evening’s program will provide a brief glimpse into a rich musical tradition.

For more information, please contact Mindi Rambo at 212/668-2208 or 646/341-2825 or see the 2008 Kwanzaa flyer published by NPS.

Posted by: Kirsten | Wednesday, 10 December 2008

New Book Encourages Children to Discover National Parks

New Book Encourages Children to Discover National Parks (a great stocking stuffer idea! — JTM)

From an NPS news release:

National Park Service Director Mary A. Bomar today unveiled a new book designed to make national parks more meaningful to young visitors. More than 100 enthusiastic students from John Eaton Elementary School in Washington, DC joined Bomar, U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) and other dignitaries at the launch party for Kids Passport to Your National Parks Companion.

Kids Passport to Your National Parks Companion is an owner’s manual to national parks for children between the ages of six and 12, a crucial time for children to develop a connection to history and the natural world,” said Bomar. “This new book will make their park visits more engaging and fun.”

The book provides background information on the country’s 391 National Park Service sites and encourages children to use all of their senses to explore parks. There is plenty of space to record observations, sketch plants and animals, list accomplishments, track visits, and even collect park ranger autographs.

“There is a growing concern that children are becoming increasingly disconnected from the natural world and I applaud Senator Burr for conceiving of this book as a way to improve the quality and quantity of park visits for children,” said Bomar.

Bomar also praised National Park Service employees Lindi Harvey, Wendy Davis, and Diane Chalfont for working collaboratively with Eastern National to develop the book. Eastern National is a National Park Service cooperating association that operates 245 bookstores and museum shops at 150 national parks and public sites.

The book is meant to supplement, not replace, the extremely popular Passport to Your National Parks which allows visitors to collect cancellation stamps at most National Park Service sites. The new book will go on sale next week for $5.95.

Posted by: Kirsten | Sunday, 7 December 2008

Founders Day at Fort Frederica

Oglethorpe on horseback

Oglethorpe on horseback

Founder’s birthday celebrations planned

 From an NPS news release…

As the leading figure of the new colony of Georgia, General James Edward Oglethorpe was feted on his birthday in the young settlements of the colony. On Saturday, December 13th, the National Park Service at Fort Frederica National Monument will celebrate Oglethorpe’s birthday in true colonial style from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Join park staff and living history volunteers for cannon and musket firings, toasts and joviality. To start the celebration a lime burn will commence at 11 a.m. (weather and fire conditions permitting).  A special tour of the town will be offered at 3 p.m.  At noon, meet Mr. Oglethorpe on his special day and learn the importance of these celebrations in lifting the spirits of the settlers.  A historic weapons program will be offered at 2:00 p.m. The Stewart-Law Baroque Ensemble Trio will provide colonial-era music from 1 – 3 p.m. The visitor center will be decorated in colonial style by the Neptune Garden Club.

Refreshments will be served. There will be no entry charged for this holiday open house.

For further information about this event and the expanding number of programs at Fort Frederica National Monument visitors may contact Kim Coons at the park Visitor Center at 912-638-3639.

Posted by: Kirsten | Thursday, 4 December 2008

Holiday Traditions Celebrated in National Parks

Holiday Traditions Celebrated in National Parks

From an NPS news release:

Carols, craft demonstrations, and candlelight tours are just some of the special festivities taking place in national parks this holiday season. The National Park Service website lists more than 50 events featuring holiday sights and sounds.

“National parks are wonderful places to reflect and refresh during the holiday season,” said National Park Service Director Mary A. Bomar. “Visitors can celebrate this special time of year in a variety of ways. They can enjoy the majesty of a large natural area, experience traditional celebrations of bygone eras at historic sites, or simply lounge by the fireplace in a rustic lodge after an outdoor adventure. There is something for everyone.”

The website Celebrate the Holiday Season in America’s National Parks provides a comprehensive state-by-state listing of special events. Commemorations at National Park Service sites showcase the meaning of the holidays throughout America’s history and provide a way to connect with significant people and places in the country’s past.

Children can make Victorian cards, take carriage rides, or learn crafts. Families can attend plays and concerts or learn about various ethnic, cultural, and religious holidays celebrated around the world. Visitors can admire the luminaries and period decorations at historic sites. Overall, National Park Service sites are great places to make or continue holiday traditions.

Older Posts »