Civic engagement is all about giving back to your community – be it through volunteering, service, or just sharing your knowledge and skills with others. Our national parks give us so much, so it is important to give back to them and instill a sense of ownership, pride, and responsibility for preserving our parks in the younger generations. The National Park Foundation (NPF)’s work promoting civic youth engagement connects youth to their local parks in ways that highlight the importance of giving back to their communities.

Through innovative, and often collaborative, projects, NPF’s work in youth civic engagement demonstrates how much we all have to give – no matter our age. From developing new exhibits to independent projects, program participants share their unique talents with their communities and our national parks, developing a lifelong bond with our parks and all they have to offer.

Highlights & Projects

Monolith at the LBJ Memorial Grove

Lyndon B. Johnson & Civil Rights

A major part of Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ)’s legacy was the Civil Rights Act, out of which grew the Americans with Disabilities Act. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, students who are deaf and hard-of-hearing from Gallaudet University created a digital media interpretive product for the Lyndon B. Johnson Memorial Grove that can be enjoyed by all visitors.

Three people trekking through the icy Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Conservation Advocates at Apostle Islands

NPF supported a student engagement project at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore which simultaneously educated and engaged student participants and furthered the park’s conservation efforts. Students helped further the scientific knowledge of park resources through independent research projects, improved conditions on the park’s Lakeshore Trail, created a new exhibit at the Michigan Island Lighthouse, and improved the fee station at Meyers Beach.

Bridge over moat

Civic Skills at the Castillo

A project supported by NPF connected students with Castillo de San Marcos National Monument by helping design hands-on activities that emphasized the importance of civic and leadership skills. Students digitally documented their activities that they shared with external audiences, and ultimately hosted a special event at the fort for their families and friends.

The entrance to the Rosie the Riveter WWI National Historic Site

The Spirit of WWII

NPF supported a collaboration between Rosie the Riveter / WWII Home Front National Historical Park and Hometown/Richmond! The park worked as a community resource partner for Straight Talk On Prison’s (STOP) academic intervention – Community Works program, teaching students about their rights and responsibilities as citizens and their ability to bring about meaningful change in their hometown.