Centennial Challenge Projects coming to Southern California National Parks
April 29, 2008
Contact: Yvonne Menard
Greater Los Angeles, CA – The National Park Service Centennial Challenge will fund five education and science programs in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and Channel Islands National Park with an additional $800,000 this year. Each project is an opportunity to enhance the scientific knowledge about the natural resources or provide education and environmental stewards.
The five funded programs are:
- Outdoor Education will provide programs and bus transportation for 10,000 urban schoolchildren in the Santa Monica Mountains. This project is a partnership between LAUSD and the Santa Monica Mountains Fund and will begin May 15.
- BioBlitz! is 24-hour plant and animal inventory where families can scour the Santa Monica Mountains to see and learn about the different species. The BioBlitz is a cooperative effort with National Geographic and will bring over 80 scientists to work with visitors to identify the animals and plants in the mountains. May 30-31, 2008.
- Mountain Lion Survey and Conservation will continue the research about mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains by tracking their activity through satellite and radio collars. The project is a cooperative effort with California Department of Parks and Recreation.
- Watershed Restoration with Urban Youth brings 2,000 young people from Los Angeles to conduct their first restoration project in the Santa Monica Mountains. The project is cosponsored by the California Coastal Conservancy.
- Biological Inventory of Channel Islands National Park will initiate an inventory of the lesser known plants and animals of the park islands with special focus on groups such as invertebrates, fungi, moss, and lichens. The inventory will include science workshops, research grants, and a public symposium. The Nature Conservancy is providing matching support in an ongoing partnership with the National Park Service.
The Centennial Challenge provides matching funds to national parks with partners to conduct programs that enhance the learning by both visitors and the parks themselves. Each of the above programs has at least a 50% match by a park partner. The total cost of all the programs is close to $800,000, but more than half of this came from nongovernment sources.
National Park Service Director Mary A. Bomar said, “With the nearly $25 million Congress has appropriated and nearly $27 million of matching commitments from our park partners, the Centennial Initiative today moves onto the landscape and into people’s lives. It’s a great day for the National Park Service and a great day for all who live near Santa Monica Mountains and Channel Islands National Parks.”
The National Park Centennial Initiative is a 10-year program to reinvigorate America’s national parks and prepare them for a second century. The initiative includes a focus on increased funding for park operations plus a President’s Challenge: up to $100 million a year in federal funds to match $100 million a year in philanthropic donations to the National Park Service.
“This is how we put our Centennial goals on the ground and it’s quite a beginning,” Bomar said. “We have 110 programs and projects involving more than 130 individual, public, and non-profit partners benefitting 76 national park in 38 states and the District of Columbia.”
Director Bomar said, “We really have to get cracking. Many of our parks have a short construction seasons for the brick and mortar and trail projects and our rangers will need to quickly integrate new programs for the rush of summer visitors who arrive in a few short months.”
The National Park Centennial Initiative provides a framework for the National Park Service to engage the public in its mission. Its goals and strategies will embrace new constituents and gain support from a broad array of public and private partners to ensure America’s national parks continue to thrive into the next 100 years.
Centennial Challenge programs and projects for 2008 elsewhere in the United Sates include:
- Lewis and Clark National Historical Park where park rangers and staff will adopt the Class of 2016, today’s fourth-graders, and bring them into the park for special programs several times a year until they graduate from high school.
- Nine national parks across the country will embark on a national effort to discover and catalog all plant and animal life in the national parks – technically speaking, they will conduct all taxa biologic inventories.
- Upgraded and new interpretive trails at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, Valley Forge National Historical Park, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, Point Reyes National Seashore, and other parks.
- Restoration of ancient redwood forest and watershed in Redwood National and State Parks.
- Water quality enhancement, restoration of endangered mussels, reintroduction of trumpeter swans, and wetland habitat learning experiences for visitors at Buffalo National River.
- Creation of the Institute at the Golden Gate to Advance Preservation and Global Stability, Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco.
- New or expanded Junior Ranger programs at many national parks.
- Rejuvenate coral reefs with a community program at Biscayne National Park.
For a complete list of the 2008 National Park Service Centennial Challenge projects and programs please visit www.nps.gov/2016.