NPS Monthly Themes

Each year, the National Park Service organizes a monthly calendar of themes to highlight the depth and breadth of the more than 400 parks and dozens of NPS programs at work in communities across the United States. From special activities to fun social media engagement, the monthly themes provide opportunities to illustrate unique aspects of our nation’s remarkable places and stories.

2017 Monthly Themes
2018 Monthly Themes

2017 Monthly Themes

January: Kicking off the Second Century

The National Park Service Centennial charted a new direction for the NPS we enter our second century. In January, we share our successes and how those actions prepare the NPS for the next 100 years. We also look ahead to plans for the first year of our second century!

February: Arc to Equality

In honor of African American History Month, we invite everyone to reflect on the contributions, sacrifices, and heroism of African Americans and other groups that are preserved in our parks or through our programs.

March: Exploring Lesser-Known Stories

Parks and programs contain a variety of stories and experiences that aren’t widely recognized. To share these, this month we explore stories that contribute to a more complete picture of the American experience, such as lesser-known contributions and achievements of women in American history and underutilized areas and visitor experiences.

April: Find Your Park / Encuentra Tu Parque

In recognition of National Park Week, we invite everyone to Find Your Park! Parks can promote incentives to visit, like fee-free days, volunteer projects, and special programs for Junior Ranger Day and Earth Day.

May: Water

America’s great waters connect us all. This month, we explore topics including recreation, water safety, and water stewardship. We also encourage visits to ocean, lake, and river parks and promote programs such as Wild & Scenic Rivers.

June: Great Outdoors Month

We encourage advocacy and enjoyment of the great outdoors. In correlation with a larger “Great Outdoors” movement and National Trails Day, parks and programs can highlight the many ways to enjoy nature, while also bringing attention to the contributions of partners and volunteers.

July: Encuentra Tu Parque: Welcoming New Audiences in Parks

Inspired by July 4th, we welcome new visitors and stewards to our parks. Parks and programs can highlight opportunities for new audiences and relevancy, and many will host naturalization ceremonies in partnership with United States Customs and Immigration Services.

August: Citizen Science

Citizen scientists in national parks gain deeper knowledge about park resources and contribute valuable information to help manage and protect parks. Especially in this month of the total solar eclipse, we focus on parks and programs that engage visitors in science and highlight innovative programs and important research across the NPS.

September: Parks as Classrooms

National parks and NPS programs offer Junior Ranger programs and other educational opportunities and materials for families and teachers to use throughout the school year. This month we highlight the many educational opportunities available across the NPS.

October: Healthy Parks, Healthy People

Healthy Parks, Healthy People harnesses the power of parks in promoting the health of people and the environment. In October we highlight the health benefits of visiting parks and the programs parks offer to encourage healthy choices.

November: Preserving History and Culture

The National Park Service plays a pivotal role in preserving history and culture in parks and local communities. We explore the role of parks and programs in preserving sharing America’s stories.

December: Supporting the Parks

The national parks and NPS programs were built on partnerships. The NPS and its partners promote the importance of these relationships and how citizens can support parks by volunteering and supporting friends groups, cooperating associations, and other park partners.

2018 Monthly Themes

January: Opening Doors

The National Park Service protects unique and significant doors, entryways, and gates across the country. These places also symbolize gateways to new experiences, from outdoor adventures, to education and learning, to careers. How does the National Park Service open doors to new opportunities?

February: Learning from Leaders

From Frederick Douglass (born 200 years ago this month!) to George Washington, César Chávez, Maggie Walker, and others working individually and collaboratively. How do parks and public lands celebrate and help us understand leadership?

March: Marking New Beginnings

Throughout history and across cultures, the spring equinox has symbolized rebirth and new beginnings. How do we find this spirit in parks and public lands?

April: Finding Your Park After Dark -- Starry Skies

As we celebrate National Park Week and International Dark Sky Week this month, let’s look at what happens in park skies when the sun goes down. What goes on in the dark?

May: Picturing Yourself in a Park

Visitors see themselves in different roles when they come to parks—as photographers, hikers, learners, and much more. As we celebrate the winners of the Share the Experience photo contest, how do visitors see themselves in our parks and public lands?

June: Celebrating the Great Outdoors

The summer travel season has begun! It’s time to celebrate the great outdoors and encourage people to get outside. Whether they’re headed to a national park or other lands protected with the help of NPS programs, how can visitors experience, enjoy, and learn from the outdoors?

July: Declaring Independence

As we commemorate the American colonies’ declaration of independence from England, what other stories of independence are told in our parks and public lands?

August: Having Fun with Friends & Family

Summer is beginning to wind down. It’s time to gather friends and family and head to a park to celebrate our 102nd birthday. How does the National Park Service provide fun, memorable, and inspiring experiences?

September: Protecting our Nation’s Treasures

Parks protect some of our nation’s most treasured places, spaces, and stuff. NPS programs work with communities to protect and share many others. How do visitors find the treasures in your park and community?

October: Celebrating Rivers & Trails -- #FindYourWay

The Wild & Scenic Rivers and National Trails systems are turning 50! With rivers and trails in visitors’ backyards and across the country, how can we encourage visitors to #FindYourWay to these places and stories?

November: Expressing Thanks for Parks and Public Lands

Our nation would be a very different place without the National Park Service. What do you appreciate about parks and NPS programs?

December: Appreciating Our Partners

The national parks and NPS programs were built on partnerships—supporting parks and our communities. How do our partners make a difference in your park or community?

From National Park getaway ideas to special commemorations and topical content, there are lots of other great story ideas across the National Park Service.