August 2019 Monthly Theme: Picturing Yourself in a Park

Two people taking a selfie overlooking a canyon and river

NPS / Jacob Frank

Whether visitors or staff, we all see ourselves in different roles when we come to parks—as hikers, history buffs, learners, explorers, and so much more. How can we picture ourselves in our parks and public lands?

Parks are pretty photogenic, and so are our visitors and staff. With stunning scenery, aesthetic architecture, and captivating critters of all sorts, parks make an ideal backdrop for people to literally take pictures of themselves. For our messaging theme this month, National Park Service (NPS) parks, programs, and partners can invite visitors and staff to share how they safely picture themselves experiencing parks and public lands or what their role they play in preserving places and resources important to our natural and cultural heritage.

  • Encourage visitors to share their photos of your park centered around a topic or theme, such as first time at the park, park entrance signs, then-and-now vacation photos, etc.
  • Showcase the amazing photography or videography of staff, volunteers, and artists-in-residence.
  • Set up a fun or scenic photography station with a tripod or frame in your park.
  • Create a photo challenge such as a scavenger hunt using images.
  • Compare then-and-now or before-and-after photos of places on social media or an online gallery.
  • Share photography tips for getting that amazing shot of places or objects in your park or resources your program is involved with, such as dramatic sunsets, marine life, night skies, or historic buildings.
  • Encourage safe photography, including safety tips for taking selfies or wildlife viewing.

  • Dust off the old-timey footage or historical photography devices, such as zeotropes.
  • Share how photography was used to shape history at your park, including important scientific expeditions or capturing news stories that affected the nation.

  • Demonstrate how photography and videography is used today as part of the work we do to preserve these special placesour mission, such as aerial photography or before-and-after pictures for restoration work.
  • Track an employee’s or volunteer’s day in a series of photographs in an article and/or social media posts.
  • Host an InstaMeet to encourage amateur photographers to meet up at a set time and location and share their images on social media.
  • Share an itinerary (thing to do or trip idea) focused on photography locations in your park or organized by theme for your program (for example, photographing battlefields or rock formations in different parks).

Social Media

Social media hashtags for our monthly theme are #NPSRecreation and #HowDoYouPark. Don’t forget to use #FindYourPark / #EncuentratuParque so the NPS national accounts and the National Park Foundation can easily find and possibly share your posts!

Where appropriate, link back to these pages or park websites on

Honoring 400 Years of African American History

August 1619 was a significant moment in American history: the landing of the first enslaved Africans in English North America at Virginia’s Point Comfort, now part of Fort Monroe National Monument. On the 400th anniversary weekend, Fort Monroe NM is hosting a Healing Day Bell Ringing Ceremony and the park is inviting sites across the country to participate. Find additional information about the NPS commemoration of 400 years of African American history.

Other August Themes & Activities

Can you find ways to connect any of these additional themes and activities to the monthly servicewide theme or yearlong themes of encouraging recreational opportunities and tackling deferred maintenance? Throughout the month, there are many other themes and celebrations that NPS parks, programs, and partners can join in. Find more information about these topics related to the NPS and common social media hashtags to use for a few of the other things happening in August:

Last updated: August 5, 2019