What Is The Inspiration Behind This Program?
The National Park Foundation’s Find Your Park Expedition takes its inspiration from the @American_Latino Expedition (or #ALEx) – a public education and awareness campaign designed to connect online influencers from across the United States to America’s national parks while highlighting American Latino culture, heritage, and contributions that can be found and honored within them. For four years, the program connected thousands of people from diverse backgrounds and locations to America’s national parks.
Last year marked the first National Park Foundation Find Your Park Expedition – a program that brought together eight millennial social media and online influencers from diverse backgrounds on a trip of a lifetime to Mesa Verde National Park.
This year, we look forward to sharing similar transformative experiences and stories as we travel to Yosemite National Park and select national parks in the San Francisco Bay Area, an exciting trip that will truly highlight the breadth and depth of the National Park Service.
What Is The Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque Movement?
Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque is a bilingual public awareness and education movement to inspire people to discover all that a park can be, share their experiences with each other, and support these treasured places and their programs. This multi-platform initiative, launched by the National Park Service and National Park Foundation in March 2015, is co-chaired by First Lady Michele Obama and former First Lady Laura Bush. Find Your Park celebrates the National Park Service Centennial and sets the stage for the Service's next 100 years, highlighting its important work in communities across the country and inviting people to discover their own unique connections to our nation's natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history. Find out more and become a part of the Find Your Park movement at FindYourPark.com/EncuentraTuParque.com and by using #FindYourPark and #EncuentraTuParque on social media.
Supporting Find Your Park, the expedition aims to reach diverse audiences and encourage them to connect with national parks and their programs
What Will We Do On The Expedition?
NPF will collaborate with National Park Service staff to convene a rich educational and recreational program designed to highlight diverse park stories and experiences, cultivate on-the-ground learning, create authentic connections to parks, and by extension, inspire people everywhere to engage with the adventure and discover their own unique connections to parks. National Park Service staff will be responsible for curating the participants’ in-park experience, meaning our participants will truly be able to see and experience our national parks through the eyes of park staff.
The expedition will focus on the following:
- Diversity, History, Relevancy, Heritage, and Education
Stories from our nation’s rich, textured and diverse history can be found in each of the 412 national parks within the National Park System. The expedition will highlight, celebrate and inform this year’s participants – and their social media and online followers – about the ways the National Park Service is working to tell a more accurate and inclusive story. Whether it’s the story of Buffalo Soldiers protecting Yosemite National Park, or the start of the Gay Rights Movement at Stonewall National Monument, the National Park Service protects and shares important places that tell our collective history.
- Working with the National Park Service
The expedition provides diverse audiences with an entry point to develop a strong, deep-rooted relationship with the National Park Service and gain an understanding for ways to work with the Service. From full-time permanent careers, to seasonal positions, to internships that let students explore career choices, to volunteer jobs, there are many opportunities to work with the National Park Service.
- Conservation and Environmental Stewardship
The National Park Service protects landscapes, ecosystems, and wildlife across the country. The expedition provides a bridge to creating the next generation of environmental stewards and conservationists.
- Outdoor Recreation, Fitness, Nutrition, and Health
To fully enjoy the great outdoors, and appreciate the history represented in them, park enthusiasts understand physical fitness is a must. The vast expanses of our national parks present a powerful opportunity to address the growing obesity epidemic and health disparities amongst underserved communities influenced by poor nutrition and lack of exercise. The expedition will seek to inspire participants – and their social media and online followers – to take care of their bodies while empowering them with the resources needed to fully maximize their experience outdoors.
- Digital Engagement
Young adults today consume information in ways that are fundamentally different from generations before them, and use new tools to communicate with their peers. Understanding this change in human behavior and communication, NPF and NPS see a future where digital technology amplifies and personalizes park experiences – on-site and virtually. NPS is committed to making its incredible resources available online, in parks, and through enhanced social networks. Knowing that technology can bring us together, connect us with others around the globe, and share tremendous information at the speed of light, the National Park System and its archives are poised to benefit from this new digital frontier. We look forward to sharing these new developments and resources with a group of individuals who understand the new digital frontier.
Who Can Go On The Expedition?
We are encouraging social media leaders and online influencers ages 21-35 to apply. The expedition is specifically looking to select a cohort of individuals who come from diverse backgrounds and have a unique point of view.
Where Are We Going?
We will begin our trip visiting a variety of national parks in the San Francisco Bay Area and from there, we will drive about four hours east to Yosemite National Park. Yosemite includes nearly 1,200 square miles of mountainous scenery, including high cliffs, deep valleys, tall waterfalls, ancient giant sequoias, and a large wilderness in the Sierra Nevada of California. Being an iconic national park, millions of people visit Yosemite each year to experience its beauty and endless opportunities for enjoyment.
How Many People Will Go On The Expedition?
Eight individual online influencers will be selected. All winners will be traveling together as a group and be provided with the same itinerary throughout the week. Accommodations are double-occupancy, so participants may be asked to share a room with another winner.
Representatives from the National Park Foundation, National Park Service, and our expedition partners will also accompany and guide you at various stages along the way.
How Much Does The Expedition Cost?
Thanks to our extraordinary expedition partners, winners will be provided with gear, accessories and apparel for your trip, as well as airfare and ground transportation, lodging and some meals. Not all meals will be included on this trip, so we do encourage you to bring spending cash along for your journey.
What Are The Dates Of The Expedition?
The 2016 expedition will take place September 24 - October 1, 2016.
What Is Your Selection Process?
We are encouraging individuals with engaging online and social media personalities and skills to apply. While preference is given to online influencers who self-identify as being racially or ethnically diverse and/or a member of the LGBTQ community, anyone who applies will be considered.
All applications will be reviewed by a selection committee comprised of representatives from the National Park Foundation and our corporate partners. Once finalists are chosen from the initial pool, there will be a phone interview conducted with each candidate to determine the winners!