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In June 2020, Great Smoky Mountains Association teamed up with their park's Superintendent Cassius Cash to create Smokies Hikes for Healing. Additionally supported through aid-to-park funding from Friends of the Smokies , this collaborative program aims to connect strangers to have difficult conversations about racism and social justice in a natural setting. Read on to learn more about their efforts (originally posted in Smokies LIVE and written by Frances Figart, GSMA Creative Services Director): In late May, as the park began to resume operations after being fully closed for 46 days, a shock wave rang out around the world when George Floyd was tragically ...
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The Friends of Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge is dedicated to helping shape and support the development of Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge. They foster a community conservation ethic by promoting environmental and cultural awareness through public educational programs and recreational opportunities. One of the Friends of Valle de Oro's newest endeavors is their ABQ Backyard Refuge (ABQBYR) program, which allows public land management agencies and community members to work together to restore and maintain robust habitats for wildlife and people to seek refuge. Read on for more about this program from the Friends of Valle de Oro Executive Director ...
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Alaska Geographic (AG) has been creating deeper connections to Alaska's wild lands for over 60 years as the nonprofit education partner of the state's spectacular national parks, forests and refuges. In partnership with the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, the National Park Service (NPS) and the U.S. Forest Service (USDAFS), AG supports Composing in the Wilderness , a shared wilderness experience for adventurous composers at all levels. Below is our interview with AG executive director Andy Hall about this program. When did the Composing in the Wilderness program begin, and what was the motivation behind starting the program? Hall: The Composing ...
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Ballard Locks Fish Ladder Renovations Concept The Fish Ladder Viewing Gallery at the Hiram M. Chittenden (Ballard) Locks in Seattle has not been renovated in over 40 years, despite being the site of approximately 2 million visitors per year. Seeing the great potential of one of the Locks' most popular educational attractions, PLA member Discover Your Northwest (DYNW) decided to team up with the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and The Corps Foundation in order to raise the capital funds needed to renovate the structure. Below is our interview with DYNW Executive Director Jim Adams about this project. What prompted the Fish Ladder renovations project? ...
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Wulfert Bayous, Sanibel Island, Florida “Land, water and vegetation are just that dependent on one another. Without these three primary elements in natural balance, we can have neither fish nor game, wild flowers nor trees, labor nor capital, nor sustaining habitat for humans.” - Jay Norwood "Ding" Darling Jay Norwood "Ding" Darling, a Pulitzer prize-winning political cartoonist, often focused on the theme of conservation and wildlife preservation in his work. In addition to his artistic endeavors, "Ding" headed the U.S. Biological Survey, a predecessor of the Fish and Wildlife Service, initiated the Federal Duck Stamp Program, and pioneered leadership ...
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Photo by Brandy Dyess/Mojave Desert Land Trust A champion of conservation, the Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) protects over 24.5 million acres of land within the entire California portion of the eastern Mojave and Colorado deserts. In fact, MDLT has donated more tracts of land to the national park system nationwide than any other non-profit since 2006. PLA had the opportunity to interview MDLT's Executive Director, Geary Hund, who has worked as a conservation professional for more than 40 years, beginning as a ranger and then as an ecologist with California State Parks. What does “conservation” mean to MDLT, and why is it so important? Hund: ...
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Photo credit: Tim Ervin Engaging Communities Through Education and Recreation Summer is in full swing, and there is no better time to visit the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens as their signature lotuses and water lilies are in magnificent bloom. One of the gardens' supporting partners is PLA member Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens (FoKAG). Founded in 2001 by a small but mighty team of 10 volunteers, FoKAG has now grown to utilize more than 900 volunteers and bolster its impact on the park as well as the surrounding community through stewardship, engagement and educational programs. One of the ways FoKAG engages those who live near the park is through ...
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Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association works to educate students about the wildlife and natural landscapes of their communities. Continued Learning to Strengthen Partnerships Established in 1970 to help the U.S. Forest Service provide interpretive education about the surrounding environments, the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association (ESIA) is one of the longest serving nonprofit agency partners. Today, in addition to their work with USFS, they have grown to partner with the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management at the following sites: Inyo National Forest Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest Tahoe National Forest Death ...
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Glacier National Park (GNP) Education Specialist, Laura Law, and teachers reflecting on how science and culture are inter-twined (at Two Medicine Lake). In 2013, the Glacier National Park Fund and the Glacier Association merged into the Glacier National Park Conservancy (GNPC) in order to better serve the Park by providing support for preservation, education and research through philanthropy and outreach. One component of their educational support is to help Glacier National Park staff provide high quality, professional development opportunities for teachers about park resources. The Park's education staff works with researchers and community partners ...
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Youth Environmental Leadership Program (YELP) is a paid internship program for youth of color that focuses on experience in Science, Technology, Math and Engineering (STEM) careers, particularly in the park service and conservation fields. Since 1993, Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has raised more than $68 million to fund historic preservation, wildlife management, environmental education and more in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP). This partnership has flourished over the years, building up a list of accomplishments such as the reconstruction of the historic Mt. Cammerer Fire Tower, the reintroduction of elk to the Smokies ...
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Corps member helps local youth plant native wildflowers in Rocky Mountain National Park. Since 1931, Rocky Mountain Conservancy has provided education and interpretation to visitors of Rocky Mountain National Park as a nonprofit partner. Since then, they have expanded their education programs through their Field Institute and Conservation programs and have identified a variety of ways to engage youth and young adults. This year, the Conservancy is leading programs that engage young people from ages four to twenty-five to learn about the park and become lifelong stewards. Through elementary school programs, fellowship programs and a Corps program, they ...
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California State Parks Acting Sector Superintendent Brett Silver points to the damaged duff layer at the base of a redwood tree in the Grove of Titans. Increased foot traffic has caused the ferns to die and has exposed the roots of the tree. Photo Credit: Max Forster. In Jebediah Smith Redwoods State Park in northern California stands some of the world’s largest and oldest redwood trees. The majestic Grove of Titans was discovered by researchers in the 1990s and was relatively hidden from the public for several years. Recently, however, the location of these redwoods has been popularized online and through social media and hundreds of visitors per week ...
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Snow Geese and Ross’s Geese at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge; Photo Credit: Beverly Sinclair. You will hear the rumble of snow geese before you see them. At the first light of dawn, they cover the water of Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge and there they rest as a blanket of snow. As the sun rises, they begin to stir. You hear a low, roaring thunder and you look out. The water is moving, the birds are flapping their wings and then, they ascend above you in thousands. Their screaming calls fill the sky and block your view of the lingering stars. The geese fly overheard en masse and a moment later they are gone; a snow patch in a distant ...
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Fissure 8 of the Kīlauea Volcano effusing voluminous lava on the Island of Hawai’i. Photo taken June 22, 2018. Photo Credit: USGS. On April 30, 2018, Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō , the main vent of an eruption on the East Rift Zone of Kīlauea Volcano, emptied and collapsed. In early May, an eruption commenced on the Lower East Rift Zone and then a 6.9 magnitude earthquake shook the Island of Hawai‘i. Explosive events at the summit of Kīlauea began a few days afterward and the majority of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (HAVO) closed. Ash plumes, some ascending up to 30,000 ft. deposited ash at the summit and in communities downwind. Most destructively, a series of over ...
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Sugar Pine Point State Park along the western shores of Lake Tahoe, CA. In California, there are more than 280 state parks managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation. These parks contain diverse natural, cultural and recreational resources and many of them are supported by nonprofit partners who raise funds and manage operations to ensure that the parks are open and enjoyed by park visitors. In northern California, Sierra State Parks Foundation (SSPF) supports seven of these parks in the western shores of Lake Tahoe and Donner Lake area. SSPF is one of 89 cooperating associations that partner with the state parks system and, while many ...
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The 416 Fire in the San Juan National Forest in early June 2018. Photo Credit: Jim Mackensen; Source: San Juan National Forest Facebook Page. On June 11, 2018, a rapidly growing wildfire in Southwest Colorado forced the U.S. Forest Service (Forest Service) to close visitor access to the entirety of the San Juan National Forest for the first time in history. What later became known as the 416 & Burro Fire Complex burned approximately 55,000 acres and shut down entry to the forest for ten days. While the Forest Service acted swiftly to respond to the fire, the nonprofit, San Juan Mountains Association (SJMA) also stepped up to help visitors and the local ...
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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages 5,000 recreation areas at 403 lakes and rivers across the country. In September 2006, a group of retired U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) employees and leaders from the private sector came together to create a nonprofit that would support lakes and waterways across the country. An official nonprofit partner of the USACE, The Corps Foundation (Foundation) developed out of a growing concern for decreases in federal funds for USACE sites and with an interest in supporting these programs and facilities to keep these treasured resources vibrant. The nonprofit now operates as a volunteer-run organization with a ...
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Colorful ash at the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes in Katmai National Park and Preserve. Photo Credit: NPS. In southern Alaska, at the northern end of the Alaska Peninsula, Katmai National Park and Preserve is home to thousands of Alaskan brown bears, spawning salmon and a landscape of active volcanoes. In 1918, the site was declared a national monument to protect Mount Katmai and its surrounding area. In 1980, it was then expanded to become a park and preserve that furthered protections and allowed native Alaskan communities to continue to practice subsistence hunting. Helping to the tell the story of this public land while celebrating 100 years since its ...
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Walking, running, and biking are three popular activities along the C&O Canal towpath, shown here near Carderock. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal served as a shipping route along the Potomac River from Cumberland, Maryland to Washington D.C., fulfilling a dream of George Washington to utilize America’s waterways to connect resources from the west to markets in the east. However, with the construction of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, canal boats were soon outrun by train cars. Due to competition with the railroads and destructive flooding, the canal closed to boat traffic in the 1920s. Then, in 1971, the canal, ...
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This April, the Public Lands Alliance (PLA) gave me the opportunity to do a whirlwind trip to visit public lands nonprofits in New Mexico. If you’ve followed Newswire for a while, you may have read about my adventures last year in California which involved me driving across the state in a rental car to visit an inspiring group of nonprofit partners. This trip to New Mexico was no less exhilarating, and as Marketing and Communications Manager for PLA, I am amazed and humbled by the stories nonprofits had to share with me and to witness the innovative ways they serve public lands visitors. Through this photo blog, my goal is to shed some light on the ...
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