“Twenty & Odd”

Explore 400 years of African American experience through this short National Park Service (NPS) video, “Twenty & Odd”.

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 developed by the NPS staff and interns. This NPS film provides an opportunity to motivate, educate, inspire, and empower people.

Take about five minutes of your time and enjoy this important video.

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!

Technology and Innovations

When you think about our national parks, you probably picture a grand canyon, geysers, mountains, tall trees, coral reefs, or vast open pieces of land. Did you know that the national park service also has a number of sites dedicated to technology and innovations? There’s about 15 of them.

The name of the Wright Brothers equates to an airplane not the national parks. But, they have a national memorial! You can find the Wright Brothers National Memorial in North Carolina.

On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made history and achieved their first successful flight after four years of scientific experimentation. They chose this part of North Carolina for the wind, sand, and isolation – all needed to safely and secretly learn how to fly.

NPS Photo

At this national park site, you can check out their flight lines, see reconstructed 1903 camps, visit a monument and visitor’s center.

Be an inventor like the Wright Brothers and check out this video by Ranger Amiee to build a simple sled kite. Orville and Wilbur did their early scientific experiments with kites. Click here for the video.

Do your research like the Wright Brothers and check out books about them, click here or here for a children’s book.

Can’t wait to go and check out the Wright Brothers National Memorial sometime soon!

Let’s Go Again

I’m still dreaming about travel. We usually travel to Florida around this time of year. So, I decided to go there today. Come with me! I’m traveling to the Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida. Virtually!

Did you know that this national park sits about 70 miles west of Key West? You can only access it by boat or seaplane. This 100-square-mile national park contains Fort Jefferson (one of the largest 19th century forts), coral reefs, an assortment of bird life and marine life, and two light houses here.

Did you know that 99% of this national park is underwater?

NPS Photo

Click on this link and let’s check it out on this virtual tour! Enjoy your journey with me to the Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida. Hope it gave you a moment of escape, wonder, and travel for a few minutes!

Rocky Mountain National Park

Happy 106th anniversary to Rocky Mountain National Park!

In 1915, Congress created the Rocky Mountain National Park. Named after the mountain range, this mountain range is one of the world’s longest mountain ranges stretching from Alaska down to Mexico.

Rocky Mountain National Park lies in north central Colorado covering 415 square miles. And it is not too far from Denver!

Rocky Mountain National Park is a great place to go on some fun hikes, experience the mountains, drive the epic Trail Ridge Road, see wildlife, and enjoy the outdoors. If you’re in this area or looking for a great national park to visit next, I highly recommend that you check out Rocky Mountain National Park.

Enjoy a photo below of me hiking a trail in this national park back in June of 2006.

Let’s Go!

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see an island again. I dream about sandy beaches and waves coming in and out. I dream about the salty air. I dream about the clear, blue skies. I dream about the warm breeze.

Well, I decided to take this dream and go virtual! It’s not 2020 anymore, but we still can’t travel yet. So, here I go. Come with me! I’m traveling to the Virgin Islands National Park! Virtually!

Did you know that 2/3 of the St. John Island of the Virgin Islands is a national park? Virgin Islands National Park is more than just beautiful beaches. You can hike to plantation ruins to learn about a time when sugar dominated the island or visit the ancient petroglyphs carved by the Taino Indians. This area has a lot of interesting history here.

Click on this link and let’s check it out!

NPS Photo/Susanna Pershern

Enjoy your journey with me virtually to the Virgin Islands National Park! Hope it gave you a feeling of escape for a few minutes. I know that I needed it!

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!

Yosemite turns 130!

Happy 130th anniversary to Yosemite National Park!

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In 1890, President Benjamin Harrison signed the legislation creating the nation’s third national park. The establishment of Yosemite National Park preserved over 1,500 square miles of land.

Yosemite National Park is located in central California in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Yosemite ignites many images when you say its name. It’s hard not to picture the iconic Half Dome or Yosemite Falls. You can also find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more.

This park has some cool history facts here too. For one, America’s first female park ranger in the National Park Service came from Yosemite National Park. I highlighted Clare Marie Hodges in this blog post here.

Yosemite has a long history with junior rangers. It had a Junior Nature School that was organized in June 1930 and went until 1954. Could you pass a 1933 junior ranger test?  The national park service has one on their website. Try it here.

Definitely put Yosemite National Park on your bucket list of places to visit and check out the cool landscapes and history at this national park! As of now, you need reservations to visit here, so make sure to check out their website.

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National Public Lands Day

We celebrate National Public Lands Day today organized by the National Environmental Education Foundation.

Established in 1994 and celebrated the fourth Saturday in September, this day is traditionally the largest volunteer day celebrating the connection between the environment and people.

To participate this year, visit a national park for free, share an outdoor activity online, donate to a national park or organization, or just get outdoors wherever you can!

Enjoy the benefits of being outdoors!