Happy International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day! Today celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women across the globe. I wanted highlight here a couple of the many women who have impacted our national park service. 

Clare Marie Hodges served as the first female park ranger in the national park service.  She worked as a teacher at the Yosemite Valley School and grew up visiting Yosemite National Park.  As World War I began, men were sent to serve and Yosemite needed park rangers. Clare applied to become a ranger in 1918 and wrote, “Probably, you’ll laugh at me. But, I want to be a ranger.” Park Superintendent Washington B. Lewis wrote back, “I beat you to it, young lady. It’s been on my mind for some time to put a woman on one of these patrols.”

Fran Mainella worked as the first female director of the national park service. President George W. Bush nominated her to this role in 2001 and the Senate confirmed. She worked in this job until 2006. Her first job in parks and recreation was as a playground counselor in Connecticut back in 1965.  She built her career around the parks and led the Florida State Parks before becoming the director of the national park service. From the start of her directorship, she stated “Our nation’s parks tell the story of America and the history of this country. National parks represent the soul of America and a gift to the world. They are places of great history, beautiful landscapes, protected ecosystems and endangered species.”

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, thank you to all the women who have played a role in our national park system, continue to do so today, and those coming in the future. 

“I believe that life should be lived so vividly and so intensely that thoughts of another life, or of a longer life, are not necessary.” ― Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Read Across America Day

Happy Read Across America Day!

Launched in 1998 by the National Education Association (NEA), Read Across America is the nation’s largest celebration of reading.

Share with your littles and enjoy Author Kelly Starling Lyons read her book, Tiara’s Hat Parade, aloud by clicking here for the video.

Happy reading today!

Black History National Parks

Today’s post will highlight five national parks that honor black history during this month of Black History Month. Click on the links below to learn more about these important sites within our national park system and history.

Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site – This national historic site was the home to the “Father of Black History” located in Washington DC. Dr. Carter G. Woodson lived here from 1922 until his death in 1950. Before Dr. Woodson, very little accurate was written about the history about the lives and experiences of Americans of African descent. According to NPS, Dr. Woodson established Negro History Week here in 1926, which we celebrate today as Black History Month.

Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument – This national monument in Mississippi is one of the newer national park sites. Their home commemorates the legacies of two civil rights activists who devoted their lives to ending racial injustice against Black Americans through local and national activism.  According to NPS, the assassination of Medgar Evers in 1963 for his efforts to promote racial equality and social justice was one of the key catalysts for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park – Located in Maryland, this national park honors Harriet Tubman’s bravery and leadership saving and guiding nearly 70 enslaved people to freedom. “When I found that I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything.”~ Harriet Tubman

Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site – This national site in Virginia honors Maggie Lena Walker who devoted her life to civil rights advancement, economic empowerment, and educational opportunities for Jim Crow-era African Americans and women. As a bank president, newspaper editor, and fraternal leader, Walker served as an inspiration of pride and progress.

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument – Located in Ohio, this national monument honors the legendary all-Black U.S. Army units and their leader, Charles Young. Col. Young was a distinguished officer in the U.S. Army, the third African American to graduate from West Point, and the first to achieve the rank of colonel. In addition, he was the first African American to serve as a superintendent of a national park. Buffalo Soldiers were pretty much the first park rangers.

These are just a few national park sites honoring African Americans in the national park system. Check out these cool and important places!

Happy New Year!

May your 2021 be as amazing as these places!

Crater Lake National Park
Yellowstone National Park
Grand Teton National Park
Sequoia National Park

As 2020 closes, I am very grateful for many things! In particular, I really appreciate your following this blog! Thank you!

Happy New Year! Cheers to 2021!

Nation’s Christmas Tree

President Calvin Coolidge designated the General Grant in Kings Canyon National Park as the Nation’s Christmas Tree on April 28, 1926 after a little girl exclaimed, “what a wonderful Christmas tree it would be!” back in 1924 while looking up at it.

Colonel John White, longtime Park Superintendent, expressed the feeling that brings people here year after year, “We are gathered here around a tree that is worthy of representing the spirit of America on Christmas Day. That spirit is best expressed in the plain things of life, the love of the family circle, the simple life of the out-of-doors. The tree is a pillar that is a testimony that things of the spirit transcend those of the flesh.”

May this special spirit be with you these holidays!

100 Years

100 years ago, on August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment was certified as part of the U.S. Constitution. The 19th Amendment protects women’s right to vote by prohibiting the federal and state governments from denying citizens from voting based on sex. 

The National Park Service along with the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission and public media organization PRX partnered together to create a podcast, The Magic Sash, about the courageous suffragists who worked to secure the right to vote for American women.

Photo from nps.gov

According to the National Park Service, The Magic Sash is a journey back in time hosted by gold medal gymnast and advocate Aly Raisman. Join Lotty and Isaiah, two very modern fifth graders, as they meet iconic heroes of the movement for women’s right to vote and experience big moments in women’s suffrage first-hand.

It’s a great podcast for kids and adults to enjoy some history told in a fun manner. The web site even has lesson plans to go along with the podcast. Definitely check it out!

Click here for the episodes of this podcast to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment!

Happy Father’s Day

“Sometimes I think my papa is an accordion. When he looks at me and smiles and breathes, I hear the notes.” ~ Markus Zusak, The Book Thief 

Fathers exist all over children’s literature as well quotes about them. Enjoy this one particular quote above from the international bestseller, The Book Thief.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there (and all the fictional ones too)!

Memorial Day

Today, we remember and honor all the brave men and women who gave their life for our country.

This federal holiday was originally known as Decoration Day, an occasion to decorate the graves of the war dead.

Take a moment and honor those who died while serving our country. Happy Memorial Day! 🇺🇸