National Park Service and National Park Foundation Launch #FINDYOURPARK, Encouraging People to Connect with and Celebrate Our National Parks and Public Lands
Bill Nye, Bella Thorne, Roselyn Sanchez, Terrence J. and Mary Lambert Share Their National Park Stories at FindYourPark.com and on Social Media and Encourage Others to do the Same
WASHINGTON – The National Park Service and the National Park Foundation today announced the launch of Find Your Park, a public awareness and education campaign celebrating the milestone centennial anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016 and setting the stage for the next 100 years. First Lady Michelle Obama and Mrs. Laura Bush will serve as honorary co-chairs to promote the celebration of the 2016 centennial and to encourage people to connect with their favorite parks and public lands. First Lady Michelle Obama recently filmed her Find Your Park story, highlighting President’s Park, home to the White House, and her family's connection to one of the newest national parks, Pullman National Monument in Chicago.
Find Your Park invites the public to see that a national park is more than just a place -- it can be a feeling, a state of mind, or a sense of American pride. Beyond vast landscapes, the campaign highlights historical, urban, and cultural parks, as well as National Park Service programs that protect, preserve and share nature, culture, and history in communities nationwide. Further, Find Your Park encourages people to find their own personal connections within the network of national parks and public lands.
“I am thrilled to be serving as the honorary co-chair of the National Parks Centennial Celebration with First Lady Laura Bush. Since the launch of Let’s Move! Outside in 2010, the National Park Foundation has been encouraging kids and families to get active, get outside, and take advantage of America’s great outdoors,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “I look forward to celebrating the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary and encouraging people across the country to ‘Find Your Park,’ whether it's in your backyard, in your hometown, or in one of our beautiful national parks.”
“From Acadia National Park on the East Coast, to Yosemite on the West; from Glacier National Park in the North, to Big Bend in the South; I’ve collected national parks like stamps. I’ve even lived in a national park, the White House,” said Mrs. Laura Bush. “Our national parks are the treasures of our country. I am happy to celebrate 100 years of America’s best idea, our national parks. I invite all Americans to join me in Find Your Park.”
As co-chairs, Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Bush will engage young Americans, connecting them with parks and National Park Service programs, and encouraging them to share Find Your Park stories and experiences.
The campaign to connect national parks with the next generation comes at a critical time. According to a study conducted by Hall & Partners on behalf of the National Park Foundation, while approximately 80% of Americans have heard of the National Park Service, only 38% are at all familiar with the organization and all that they do.
“There is something for everyone in our 407 national parks, whether it is the breathtaking landscapes or the historical and cultural sites that tell the story of our country,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “As we approach the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service, this is a perfect time for all Americans – especially young people – to Find Your Park, from neighborhood parks to national parks and all public lands in between.”
“The centennial is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the National Park Service to reflect on our accomplishments and to use all of our parks and programs to connect all Americans and visitors from around the world with the natural, cultural and historic treasures in our care,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis, “As a new generation responds to Find Your Park, I am confident that this campaign will have a powerful impact that will last through our next 100 years.”
“We believe that Find Your Park will inspire people everywhere to engage more deeply and more often with the National Park Service and its transformative work in communities across the country,” said National Park Foundation Interim President Dan Wenk. “By connecting the next generation with our national parks in meaningful ways, we are building a movement that will help ensure that these special places are protected well beyond the next 100 years.”
Centennial Ambassadors Bill Nye (scientist), Bella Thorne (TV and film actress), Roselyn Sanchez (TV and film actress), Terrence J. (TV personality) and Mary Lambert (singer/songwriter and LGBT advocate) are helping to reach the next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates. To inspire participation in the Find Your Park movement, each of them has filmed and shared their own personal national park story at different places across the country:
- Bill Nye at Statue of Liberty National Monument, General Grant National Memorial, Castle Clinton National Monument
- Bella Thorne at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
- Roselyn Sanchez at Golden Gate National Recreation Area
- Terrence J. at Yosemite National Park
- Mary Lambert at Boston National Historical Park
“Science is the best idea humans ever had,” as Bill Nye often says, “and our national parks, monuments, and historic sites are often called ‘America’s Best Idea.’ We need to preserve and protect them. Let’s work together to understand the impact of climate change on our parks and sites, so that we can enjoy them now and well into the future, beyond the centennial of the National Park Service.”
“I found my park practically in my backyard – at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area with my sister,” said Bella Thorne. “I hope that through Find Your Park, people my age will rediscover the national parks and be inspired to volunteer and truly understand the importance of preservation.”
“My husband and I were married at Castillo San Cristóbal, part of San Juan National Historic Site in my native Puerto Rico, and I have a deep connection to the national parks through my Hispanic community and heritage,” said Roselyn Sanchez. “I feel centered when I am in a national park, through hiking, biking, running and yoga, and I can’t wait to pass these memories on to my family.”
“As a city kid, there was something truly magical about finding my park at Yosemite National Park which has a vastness and natural beauty I’ve never experienced before,” said Terrence J. “It also inspired me to explore parks in urban areas that focus more on culture and history. National parks aren’t always the sprawling landscapes you normally think about… and many of them are closer than you think.”
“Parks can be much more than a place – they can foster a state of mind that inspires me to create some of my best poetry with those I love,” said Mary Lambert. “And, they are also places that tell my story too. I’m grateful to the National Park Service for their efforts to tell a more inclusive story that commemorates the places and events that honor LGBT history.”
At the heart of this engagement effort is the public invitation to share park experiences and memories at FindYourPark.com, which will feature an interactive gallery of inspirational stories from the general public, National Park Service employees, and celebrities. Content will be socialized with #FindYourPark. Also on FindYourPark.com is a searchable list of ideas for ways to find your park, including in-park and digital activities.
Some of the most admired companies in the world are supporting the National Park Foundation's efforts for Find Your Park, including American Express, Budweiser, Subaru, REI, Humana and Disney. Additional partners include Coleman, Coca-Cola and Accenture.
The National Park Foundation is working with GREY NY, one of the world’s leading advertising and communications agencies, to develop and implement the integrated campaign. Find Your Park will include a stream of programs, exhibits, events and public activities throughout 2015 and 2016 that will encourage everyone to find their park.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 407 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at: www.nps.gov.
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, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.