Black History Month is a time to honor, recognize and reflect on the important role that African Americans have played in U.S. history. Since President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976 and called upon the public to "seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history", every U.S. president has officially proclaimed February as Black History Month and promoted a specific theme.

This year’s theme is “Black Women in American History and Culture”.

NPF’s African American Experience Fund (AAEF) is working to help all of us commemorate and connect with the contributions of all African Americans, including African American women, in the places where history actually took place.  AAEF has identified 25 National Park Service sites that tell the African American story. Several of these sites highlight the contributions of African American women including the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site (Virginia), honoring the life of the first African American woman in the United States to charter a bank; the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site (Washington, DC), honoring an educator and the first African American female presidential advisor; and the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site (Arkansas), honoring the nine brave African American students, which included five women Minnijean Brown Trickey, Elizabeth Eckford, Carlotta Walls LaNier, Thelma Mothershed Wair, Melba Pattillo Beals and Gloria Ray Karlmark, who desegregated Little Rock Central High School.

As you can see, our national parks are rich with African American history! By visiting these sites and supporting AAEF, you can help ensure that future generations will have the opportunity to experience some of America’s most meaningful cultural treasures.
Celebrating Legacies: African American Women from Civil War to Civil Rights to Today   Presidents' Day in
Our National Parks
  Taking Action for a New Century: America’s Summit on National Parks

You are the part-owner of 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured landscapes, ecosystems, and historical sites — all protected in America’s nearly 400 national parks. Founded by Congress, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks. We work hand in hand with the National Park Service to help connect you and all Americans to the parks, and to make sure that they are preserved for the generations who will follow.

Join us — This Is Your Land. www.nationalparks.org

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Celebrating Legacies: African American Women from Civil War to Civil Rights to Today

The African American Experience Fund’s 2012 Annual Fundraising Awards Dinner Gala is set for Wednesday, March 28 in Washington, DC. This year’s Gala, which carries the theme “Celebrating Legacies: African American Women from Civil War to Civil Rights to Today – The Power of The Past and The Power of Their Paths”, will be hosted by AAEF national spokesperson and restaurateur B. Smith. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mrs. Marian Wright Edelman and Dr. Mae Jemison are among those being honored. The evening will also include a live performance from jazz greats “Pieces of a Dream”.

In addition to the annual Gala, AAEF is partnering this year with the National Park Service, members of Congress, and Essence Magazine emeritus editor-in-chief Susan L. Taylor to present “Women of Excellence: The Power of the Past and the Power of their Paths,” an educational symposium bringing together prominent women and individuals in leadership, noted historians, and youth to explore the remarkable stories of individuals who have played a significant role in America’s ongoing quest for equality and how America’s national parks can preserve and share those important contributions with current and future generations.

Funds raised through the Gala will help preserve and promote our national parks that tell the legendary stories of African American history and culture.

For sponsorship and ticket information, visit www.aaexperience.org.


Presidents' Day in Our National Parks

This February, we not only celebrate the 280th birthday of President George Washington and the 203rd birthday of President Abraham Lincoln, but all of the American Presidents. With 35 parks named for Presidents, there are many park locations where visitors can join in the Presidents’ Day revelry.  To date, President Theodore Roosevelt leads the charge with the most park units named in his honor.  President Lincoln, however, is a close second with 3 park units named for him.  Although, at the National Park Foundation, we are rather partial to the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, as it was President Grant who, in 1872, signed into law the creation of America’s first national park, Yellowstone, beginning the national park system’s extraordinary 140 year legacy that, with your generous support, we strive to preserve and protect today.

To learn more about these historic places visit www.nps.gov.

Taking Action for a New Century: America's Summit on National Parks

Last month the National Park Foundation, in collaboration with the National Park Hospitality Association (NPHA) and the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), convened “America’s Summit on National Parks” – a three day event that welcomed national park supporters, advocates, partners and National Park Service leaders from all corners of the country. Of primary focus was the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016, and the critical role the national parks community will play in supporting, shaping and driving the next century of our national parks.

As the national charitable partner of the National Park Service, NPF was excited to welcome park supporters of all sizes and scopes – including many local national park charities and friends groups. The event also welcomed a diverse audience of guests passionate about our cause – from organizations like Nickelodeon and National Geographic to many distinguished experts spanning science, education, sustainability and government.  

Private support of our national parks will be critical as we enter the next 100 years for our national parks. NPF is proud to lead that effort, as we embrace the many ways private citizens can directly support, enhance and protect our parks for the future. We know our work, combined with the advocacy efforts of NPCA and the tourism support of NPHA, can lead to a vibrant future for the National Park Service. We want to thank you, and all our partners, as we build the future of our national parks together. 

To learn more about America’s Summit on National Parks, visit www.2016parksummit.org



Spotlight on Merrell


For the past three years, Merrell has partnered with the National Park Foundation to inform and motivate people of all ages and activity levels to get outside and experience our great national parks. 

Connecting kids to the parks through the Junior Ranger Essay Contest; educating customers through its marketing channels, including social media; encouraging employee participation in volunteer events at national parks across the country; and most recently sponsoring the monthly Trail Talk series featuring interviews with National Park Service Rangers – are just some of the innovative ways that Merrell has helped our national parks. In addition, the company has provided critical support for our Impact Grants program. Projects funded through this program include support for Americans with Disabilities Act expansion projects at Arches and Canyonlands; national training for college students doing service-learning projects on college breaks; and supporting undergraduate students in their efforts to integrate sustainability, energy efficiency, and renewable energy for historic buildings in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Merrell continues to inspire the outdoor athlete in everyone – encouraging people of all ages to get outside and be active. Visit Merrell at www.merrell.com.

Ticket to Ride


This spring, thousands of students will get the chance to visit national parks around the country as part of the National Park Foundation's new Ticket to Ride program. As part of the program kids will learn about the benefits of healthy living by studying the lifestyles of the historic Timucuan Indians at Timucuan Ecological and Historic National Preserve, realize the achievements of Paul Laurence Dunbar through costumed actors, poems, and music at Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, and participate in art-in-nature programs along the New River Gorge National River.

With children spending less time being active outdoors and school budgets for field trips shrinking, the Ticket to Ride program provides efficient transportation support for students so that they may visit our national parks– whether by bus, metro, ferry, or bicycle. Once in the parks, a world of learning begins as kids discover their natural, cultural and historical heritage, participate in volunteer activities, enjoy recreational opportunities and most importantly, begin a lifelong relationship with their national parks. 

To find out how you can help give students a “Ticket to Ride,” click here.

Be a Day Trekker with NPF!


The National Park Foundation has some very exciting and FREE opportunities in Florida and California for our members to get out and enjoy the parks in March. Take a look at these exciting adventures:

Saturday, March 17 – Everglades National Park
Enjoy a “Swamp Tromp” as you wade through wetlands and into the shadows of a “gator hole” in a cypress dome. Afterwards, we will enjoy a picnic lunch and have a discussion with a park ranger to learn more about Everglades NP. For those participants wanting a little more adventure, we will be given an interpretive tour of Anhinga Trail to view alligators and other wildlife.

Sunday, March 18 – Biscayne National Park
Kayak with us to Jones Lagoon arguably the best one-day backcountry kayak trips in Florida! We will spend a full day kayaking over crystal-clear turquoise waters teeming with wildlife.  Glide though mangrove tunnels, observe a roseate spoonbill rookery, and learn about the park's 10,000 year human history.  To participate you must have some previous kayak experience. (Kayak and other equipment included!) 

Thursday, March 29 – Cabrillo National Monument
Our group will meet at the auditorium where we will be greeted by a Cabrillo NM ranger.  Afterwards, we will enjoy an interpretive tour of the park’s history starting with the arrival of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542 as we take in breathtaking views of the San Diego area. The highlight of the evening will be private access to the top of the rarely visited 19th century lighthouse!  This will be a truly memorable event and one not to be missed!

Saturday, March 31 – Joshua Tree National Park
The hike will take place on the Split Rock Loop Trail and is approximately 2.4 miles in length.  Trail books list this hike as easy but you should be prepared for unlevel ground, stepping over large rocks and walking up short but steep inclines. The hike will take approximately 2 hours to complete.

These adventures are free but space is very limited. For more information or to reserve your spot, contact Matthew Boyer at [email protected].


Help J. Crew "Save the Wilderness"


J. Crew believes that our national parks are one of our nation's greatest treasures. To help protect them, the company has partnered with the National Park Foundation to create a boys graphic t-shirt that gives back. The “Save the Wilderness” t-shirt is featured as part of the J. Crew’s "Crewcuts For A Cause" line. Proceeds from each t-shirt sold will be donated to the National Park Foundation. To order a t-shirt for a little guy in your life, click here.

Pea Ridge National Military Park Celebrates 150 Years


Tucked in to the corner of booming North West Arkansas is the most untouched Civil War battlefield in the United States.  Surrounded by the growing communities made possible by resident corporate giants Wal-Mart, Tyson’s and Hunt Trucking, Pea Ridge National Military Park is both a place of history and recreation, and over the weekend of March 9-10, a place of remembrance.

Supporting the 150th commemoration of the Battle of Pea Ridge is the Pea Ridge National Military Park Foundation. This Foundation champions the park as a place of national importance in what was, until recently, a quiet corner of the state. Board Chair and Mayor of Pea Ridge Jackie Crabtree explains “Pea Ridge is a unique park due to the 'middle manager' Generals who lead the battle and the pristine state of the battlefields, allowing it to function as a 'living' classroom for leaders today.” 

The Pea Ridge National Military Park Foundation is sponsoring a number of activities the weekend of March 9-10 and encouraging visitors from near and far to join in the festivities.  “We are looking forward to a kick-off event with Civil War re-enactors and school children in downtown Bentonville, the home of Wal-Mart, followed by a Friday evening concert by the fiddler – of Ken Burns’ fame – Bobby Horton,” explains Crabtree. Saturday the Foundation will be hosting a picnic at the park – fresh Tyson’s chicken sandwiches! – followed by the lighting of the luminaries, commemorating the 23,000 soldiers who fought on both sides of the battle that determined the fate of Missouri. 

Help the Pea Ridge Foundation meet its Facebook fan goal of 150 folks by March 1 and visit their website for more information on the March 9-10 activities.

Download the Updated "Owner's Guide to America's National Parks" Today!


The National Park Foundation's Owner's Guide is designed to make your national park experience better than ever. Full of advice about what to see and do, including maps of every state and links to each national park website, the Owner's Guide offers an insider's view of the special places we love and the opportunity to experience them to their fullest. Download an Owner's Guide for free, and explore your nearly 400 national parks as you never have before.


Make your park experience better than ever. Download your FREE Owner’s Guide to America’s National Parks today!

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This Is Your Land

Only five US Presidents are honored with monuments or memorials along the National Mall. Who are they?
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And congratulations to last month's winner, Barbara Carlock, from Terre Haute, IN, who knew that the Green River flows through Dinosaur National Monument, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Canyonlands National Park in the West, and another Green River flows through Mammoth Cave National Park in the East!

Way to go Barbara! 
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