WASHINGTON—In recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month, the National Park Foundation (NPF) today announced it is funding four cultural landscape apprentice positions for local Hispanic and Latino young adults at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in Texas. Those interested in applying for these apprenticeships can submit applications here.
The apprenticeship program, in partnership with the National Park Service, Mission Heritage Partners, and American YouthWorks' Texas Conservation Corps will place four cultural landscape preservation apprentices at the park. The apprentices will learn a variety of job skills under the direction of National Park Service mentors including grounds preservation, maintenance and landscape bed rehabilitation. Another key aspect of the work will involve preserving the historic acequias, the Spanish word for irrigation canals. Their training will be coordinated with National Park Service experts in cultural landscape preservation and help address deferred maintenance in the park.
“We can all learn so much from connecting with history in our own backyards and asking complex questions about who came before us and how people interacted with one another and their surroundings,” said LaTresse Snead, chief program officer at the National Park Foundation. “The National Park Foundation is honored to partner with Mission Heritage Partners, the National Park Service, and American YouthWorks’ Texas Conservation Corps to provide hands-on job skills training for future public lands leaders in San Antonio’s local Hispanic and Latino communities."
The apprenticeship program, which will continue throughout 2020 and beyond, is part of the National Park Foundation’s ongoing efforts to expand programs supporting Hispanic and Latino history shared through national parks.
“Mission Heritage Partners looks forward to this collaboration made possible by the National Park Foundation and American YouthWorks’ Texas Conservation Corps in support of our park,” said Rosebud Coffey, executive director of Mission Heritage Partners. “The funding of this program will open new doors for the Hispanic and Latino youth in our community."
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park was named the first World Heritage Site in Texas in 2015 by the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO), and includes the city’s four southernmost Spanish colonial missions – Concepción, San José, San Juan, and Espada. The park not only preserves the mission structures, but it also provides space for people to delve into complicated histories that involve the Native American communities in the area, the impact of Spanish colonialism, and the way of life within the missions. Two historic acequias are part of these histories as the ability to irrigate farmlands and bring water to the mission communities was imperative to the livelihood of the Spanish colonial missions.
“Through this collaborative effort, more Hispanic youth will have the opportunity to participate in the preservation, understanding, and commemoration of Hispanic and indigenous contributions to the development and history of the United States,” said Aaron Mahr Yáñez, acting superintendent at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. “They’ll learn valuable skills in landscape preservation and maintenance, and hopefully be inspired to consider careers in the National Park Service.”
The National Park Foundation is investing $75,000 in this apprenticeship project, including support from the National Park Foundation Board of Directors. This philanthropic support is also being leveraged with federal funds that were authorized and appropriated for the National Park Foundation under the 2016 National Park Service Centennial Act (PL 114-289).
"American YouthWorks is honored to partner with the National Park Foundation and National Park Service to provide opportunities for local young adults to gain technical job skills and a greater knowledge of the historic landscape, structures, and building techniques that shaped the San Antonio Missions into a UNESCO World Heritage Site,” said Parc Smith, CEO of American YouthWorks. "This meaningful preservation work connects young people to careers in historic preservation and natural resource management, while also being a unique educational experience in the history of the missions.”
The values shared by the National Park Foundation and partners will help expand apprenticeship programs for years to come. The collective dedication to youth, job training, and the continued preservation of the National Park System are key to the success of the program.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help protect more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts and connect all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.