sPark Innovation

Today’s theme for National Park Week focuses on innovation. The National Park Service works to create new technology to support conservation and preservation efforts while working to improve current conditions at the parks as well.

For example, did you know that parks like Petroglyph National Monument are going green with newer technology, such as electric vehicle charging stations and solar panels?

They have projects that range from multi-year waste reduction initiatives and all-electric bus fleets to the installation of water bottle refill stations, solar panels, LED lights, and more. These measures are helping parks think and plan long-term for a greener future, ensuring they are resilient and sustainable for the benefit of both parks and the people who love them.  

Propane recycling outside the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center at Lassen Volcanic National Park
NPS Photo by Amanda Sweeney

To celebrate today, go online and watch a webcam at one of the national parks. See the technology first hand and check out somewhere new! Click here for your choice of parks to visit online.

Happy National Park Week!

sPark Collaboration

Today’s National Park Week theme looks at the many partners working to help our national parks.

The national parks need our time by volunteering and our donations to help continue these great treasures. You can help by supporting one of more than 200 philanthropic organizations that partner with national parks nationwide.  In addition, many national parks have nonprofit associations linked to them. In addition, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of our national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service.

Take a moment to check out one of these friend organizations of the national parks today! Click here for a directory of these organizations.

Happy National Park Week!

sPark Creativity

National parks have inspired artistic expression and creativity for many, many years. Today’s theme asks what can the national parks inspire you to create?

The national parks have definitely inspired me! Our national parks inspired me to write children’s book set in a national park.

I created a magical national park, Erutuf National Park, as the setting for my children’s book, Turtle Tube: An Erutuf National Park Novel. It’s not a real national park, but an idealistic and magical one.

What creative spark do the national parks ignite in you?

sPark Discovery

National Park Week kicks off the week with a free day at the parks. No fees today!

Today’s theme encourages people to find something new by visiting a national park. If you have been there before, look for something new this time.

I love to learn and discover something new while visiting national parks. The Junior Ranger programs provide great opportunities for both children and adults to learn in greater detail about the park and its’ unique details.

The visitor centers also provide a great resource for discovering something new. Stop in and enjoy some fun facts there! Talk to the Park Rangers and ask them some questions.

If you can’t get to a national park today in person, visit one virtually online. Explore it virtually!

Whether you go in person or online, what might you discover?

“Learning never exhausts the mind,” ~Leonardo da Vinci

National Park Week

It’s one of my favorite weeks all year! National Park Week starts tomorrow, April 16th, and goes through the 24th this year! 

This year’s theme is “sPark Connections”. I love the play on the words Spark and Park here with this theme. Each day will present a new theme with the sPark and I’ll highlight them each day on this blog to celebrate this fun week!

Let’s all enjoy our amazing national parks!

Yosemite National Park, 2021

150 Years!

Happy 150th birthday to America’s first national park, Yellowstone National Park!

As the plaque on the Roosevelt Arch above says, “For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People.”

Check out some of my previous posts about Yellowstone by clicking here and here.  There are more blog posts about Yellowstone on here that you can find by just searching my blog by Yellowstone if you’re looking for more!

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Cheers to 150 years to this first and amazing national park!

Grand Canyon National Park

Happy 103 years to the Grand Canyon National Park!

President Teddy Roosevelt urged Americans to protect this great canyon, “What you can do is keep it for your children, your children’s children, and for all who come after you, as one of the great sights which every American should see.”

For more information on this amazing park, check out a previous blog by clicking here.

Cheers to 103 years!

5 National Parks Named in Honor of African Americans

Today’s post will highlight five national parks named in honor of African Americans. Click on the links below to learn more about these inspiring sites within our national park system and history.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Photo by NPS

Virtual Resources and Tours

Recently, I received an e-mail thanking me for my information about national parks virtual tours as it helped out Corrine and her Girl Scout troop work on their Arts and Culture Fun Patch.

In their research, Corrine found a couple of great online resources that I wanted to share:

Take a virtual trip through each state and visit a historical landmark, museum, or zoo by clicking here. I really like how you can scroll to a particular state and click to check it out. You’ll even see some national parks on there.

Take a virtual trip around the world and visit aquariums, zoos, national parks, famous landmarks, animals, and more by clicking here. You’ll see some national parks on this page too, but also places like Machu Picchu or Buckingham Palace. 

Thank you to Corrine and her troop for sharing these really interesting online resources! Great job on earning your patch!

I’m going to take a virtual tour now to check out some polar bears in the Artic! Happy online traveling!

“Twenty & Odd” Video

Every February celebrates Black History Month. It is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in our American history.

I wanted to share this great video entitled “Twenty & Odd” and created by the National Park Service (NPS) staff and interns. The video explores 400 years of African American experience. According to the NPS, this video serves as a visual tool to inform and highlight and to educate the nation as a whole about the trauma, resilience, and beauty of the African American experience in our country.

Take less than five minutes of your time and enjoy this educational, empowering, and very inspiring video, “Twenty & Odd”.

a black bird inside a cage with the door open
Photo from NPS