Up Close with Mickey Fearn

Deputy Director, Communications and
Community Assistance

National Park Service

Mickey Fearn has been a public servant for over 43 years. At NPS, his responsibilities include international affairs, youth programs, and outreach to groups currently underrepresented in parks and in the conservation community.  Before joining the National Park Service, Mickey worked in Seattle, where he ran the City’s Innovation Project, the Neighborhood Leadership Program, and Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative. In addition, Mickey created programs to address youth violence and reconnect young people with nature.  Mickey also served as a Washington State Parks and Recreation Commissioner for 12 years. Prior to his work in Seattle, he worked for the Governor of California, the California Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Mayor of Oakland.

Why did you get involved with NPS?
My career interest is parks and recreation. I’ve worked in this field since 1967 because it allows me to do what I love: accompany people when they’re discovering something new. When NPS Director Jon Jarvis invited me to be the deputy director of the National Park Service, I naturally accepted. I’ve worked at the state and city levels. Now I’m continuing to do what I love, but I’ve given myself the challenge of doing it in the context of a national organization. 

What’s your favorite park?
Sullivan’s Island in Charleston, South Carolina.* It’s the park that has touched me most. Over 40 percent of the slaves who were brought to this country came through Sullivan’s Island. It’s like Ellis Island for African Americans, but it’s distinctly poignant because no one arrived by choice and no one passed through on the way to a brighter future. When I visited, I could feel the spirits of the men and women who were brought there – my ancestors.

Some people don’t live near a national park. How can they get involved?
I don’t think its distance that keeps people from getting involved with the national parks. I think its lack of motivation, and the NPS itself holds the solution to this problem. By that, I mean that the NPS needs to reach out. It’s not enough to welcome people to parks and provide excellent programming within park boundaries. We need to go to people who could be involved, but aren’t, and help them see what parks have to offer them and why parks matter. We need to give people information that they can use to calculate what the return will be on their investment if they devote time to visiting a park. Our programs that help communities create close-to-home recreational opportunities and preserve local history are great ambassadors for the National Park Service and can offer a threshold experience with us and open the door to visit and get involved.

What can be done to get more young people involved in the parks?
We need to present the parks as more than tourist attractions and prime spots for outdoor recreation. We need to make the range of our offerings clear. Chances are that whatever makes you feel most alive, you can find it in a national park. Certainly, the parks are places to come face to face with our country’s epic scenery and history, and to hike and camp, but they’re also scientific laboratories, studios for the arts, and settings for almost any sport. We can involve more young people by connecting with them relative to their interests – by showing that parks are places to pursue those interests.

What can individuals do to support the national parks?
Well, to start with, we who are part of the National Park Service can do our best to help people understand the importance of parks and the relevance of parks to their own lives and interests. Once we’ve motivated individuals to get involved, they can play several roles in support of the parks. They can volunteer their time and be stewards of these places. They can advocate with their elected leaders on behalf of parks. They can be ambassadors simply by telling friends, relatives, and neighbors about a good experience they had at a national park. Finally, people can make donations to the parks via the National Park Foundation, the National Park Service’s official charitable partner, or through local friends groups.  

* The role of Sullivan’s Island in history is commemorated and explained at Fort Moultrie National Monument.

Happy Birthday to Our
National Parks!
  History in the Making   Donor Spotlight: Erie Insurance

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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1201 Eye Street 550B
Washington, DC 20005

Happy Birthday to Our National Parks!

This month, our national parks celebrate their 95th birthday. On August 25, almost a century ago, with the enthusiastic support of its citizens, the United States government preserved millions of acres of pristine wilderness. Today, that wilderness is called Yellowstone National Park. It was the world's first national park and remains an inspiration to our nation and the world. Known to park rangers as Founders Day, this “birthday” serves as an annual reminder of the incredible gift that was given to all Americans when the national parks were founded.

We urge you to take a moment to give a birthday gift back to the parks - celebrate by ensuring our national parks are protected and preserved for generations to come. Make a birthday gift!

For fun ways to celebrate in the parks, download our free National Parks Owner's Guide or visit the National Park Service event calendar.


Flight 93, History in the Making

Help Complete the Flight 93 National Memorial

As the nation observes ten years since the terrorist attacks of September 11, the forty men and women of United Flight 93 will be remembered in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The Flight 93 National Memorial will be dedicated during a ceremony on September 10, followed by a special commemorative service on September 11. Both events are open to the public and free to attend, and HISTORY will broadcast the dedication live in its entirety online. Click here for more information.

Funding is still needed to finish construction of the Flight 93 National Memorial – the only major September 11 memorial still not fully funded–after its dedication. The National Park Foundation has issued a challenge grant to help reach this goal.  The Foundation will match donations for Flight 93 dollar-for-dollar up to $2,000,000. Click here to make an online donation or call to 202/354-6488 and ask to “double your donation.”

Donor Spotlight: Erie Insurance

Erie Insurance of Erie, Pennsylvania is working with the National Park Foundation to ensure a lasting tribute to the forty passengers and crew of Flight 93 takes root at the Flight 93 National Memorial in time for the memorial’s dedication on September 10.  A generous commitment of $50,000 supports planting and nurturing a special grove of mature sweet gum trees prominently located between the Memorial Plaza and the Western Overlook. The trees were donated by the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.

Erie Insurance is the first company to invest in a multi-year design and landscape effort to establish trees at the reclaimed coal mine-turned-Flight 93 National Memorial. Thousands of trees, including 40 Memorial Groves encircling the memorial’s Field of Honor, will form a living memorial to the acts of courage and bravery of the men and women of Flight 93.  Not surprisingly, one of Erie Insurance’s guiding principles is “Above All In Service.”

The National Park Foundation is proud to recognize Erie Insurance for its support of this colorful and beautiful backdrop to the dedication of one of America’s newest national parks.

Dollars at Work: Parks Climate Challenge


This summer the National Park Foundation's Parks Climate Challenge program is bringing teachers from around the country to four national parks to train them to teach and engage their students in the subject of climate change through hands-on methodology. Institutes paired with Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Cascades National Park, Mississippi National Recreation Area and Golden Gate National Recreation Area are conducting the trainings. This fall, participating teachers will complete service projects with their students that connect them back to the parks. The National Park Foundation is also launching a website at www.parksclimatechallenge.org that allows educators anywhere in the world to take advantage of the discussions and resources that teachers from the summer program were provided. The website will be fully functional this fall but please preview it and share with your friends if you are interested. The site offers games and lesson plans utilizing national parks as a climate change teaching tool.

To learn more or support programs like this, click here.

Win a National Park Adventure from NPF and ARAMARK


NPF has teamed up with ARMARK Parks and Destinations to bring you the National Park Adventure Sweepstakes. Now through Labor Day, we’re giving away a national park adventure trip each week.  Enter to win a trip for two to Shenandoah National Park (8/15-8/21), Olympic National Park (8/22-8/22) and Denali National Park and Preserve (8/29-9/5). Each prize package will include an “America the Beautiful” annual pass, great NPF gear and an Energizer LED headlamp.  Plus, Alaska Airlines is providing airline tickets as part of the prize packages for Olympic and Denali. Enter now and learn more at www.facebook.com/nationalpark.

Can’t wait to see if you win? Our friends at Alaska Airlines are making it easier for you to take that national park trip with 20% OFF any available fare to any of the following national park destinations – Denali (via Anchorage), Glacier (via Kalispell and Great Falls), Yellowstone (via Bozeman), Crater Lake (via Medford) and Yosemite (via Mammoth Lakes). Some restrictions apply and tickets must be booked by 8/29. Click here to learn more.

Join Us for a Day Hike in Grand Teton National Park


NPF wants its members to get out and explore their national parks this summer. Supporters are invited to attend this intimate ranger-led hike on August 28th at the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve in Grand Teton National Park. The hike to Phelps Lake is a little over 3 miles and will offer beautiful stream, lake, and Teton views. Space is limited to 20 people, so please sign up today. For more information and to reserve your spot on this special hike please e-mail Lauren Harnishfeger at [email protected].

Trail Talk: Rangers Respond to Your Questions!


Are you thinking about a national park getaway for this fall?  Be sure to read Trail Talk a series of national park profiles and ranger interviews presented by NPF and Merrell. 

Our latest Trail Talk takes a closer look at Acadia National Park in Maine, the perfect park for an early fall getaway.  And next week we’ll present a Trail Talk with Washington, DC’s Rock Creek Park, the oldest and largest urban park in the National Park System.

Want to join us in Trail Talk?  Become a fan of NPF on Facebook to find out which parks are participating in Trail Talk and post questions for a park ranger to answer.

Celebrate Summer by Becoming a Fan of the Parks!


We at NPF love reminding our friends and supporters how grateful we are for them! What better way to do so than offering a summer-long fan appreciation promotion in which our Facebook fans and Twitter followers have the opportunity to win a national park pass and a NPF prize pack every Friday through Labor Day. And if you follow us on both, you double your chances!

“Like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and join in on the fun!

Vote for Your Favorite National Park!


There’s less than one month left for you to help your favorite nationalpark receive a grant from Coca-Cola through its America Is Your Park campaign. The three parks that receive the most votes by September 6, 2011 will be awarded grants in the following amounts: First Place - $100,000; Second Place - $50,000; and, Third Place - $25,000. The grants will be used to help restore, rebuild or enhance recreation areas in the park. There are multiple ways to vote.

You can go to LivePositively.com to vote or when you’re at a park, you can check in using Facebook Places. You can vote as many times as you’d like. So help spread the word and vote today!


Make this summer one to remember by exploring your national parks! Download NPF’s FREE Happy Trails: 25 Unforgettable National Park Hikes today!

National Park Foundation
National Park Service
Flight 93 National Memorial
This Is Your Land
In August 1935, FDR signed what legislation establishing “a national policy to preserve for the public use” historic places “for the inspiration and benefit of the people” and the National Park Service as its custodian?
Submit your answer here

And congratulations to last month's winner, Marilyn Lazar, from Melvillle, NY, who knew that President Taft established the geologically significant Devils Postpile National Monument 100 years ago!

Way to go Marilyn!
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Submit your favorite national park shots for a chance to win a 4-day trip for four and other great prizes!

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