2017: A Great Year to Explore Nature

Time flies, so it’s valuable to take a few moments now and then for reflection. What all happened in 2017 anyway? Here are some of our favorite moments throughout the year.


Way back on Jan. 4, we offered up some NPS trivia on National Trivia Day. Did you know Mammoth Cave National Park has the longest known cave system in the world?

people tour Mammoth Cave


Early in February, we celebrated World Wetlands Day. Wetlands link land and water, and they play crucial roles in our natural and urban areas. They provide rich habitat for a wide variety of organisms and serve as a natural barrier from flash floods. But things like pollution and land use changes threaten the survival of wetlands all over the world. Learn how the NPS works to protect and restore wetlands.

two women kneel in wetland
NPS staff work to protect wetlands in Halstead Meadow in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.


One of the highlights of National Wildlife Week in March was telling the success story of the reintroduction and recovery of the California condor. Through hard work and cooperation, this majestic bird, once down to only 22 birds in the wild, has bounced back to more than 200 known condors in the wild.

condor takes off from rock
California Condor takes off from a rock at Pinnacles National Park.



International Dark Sky Week every April lets us share those jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring photos of night skies in national parks. But believe us, the photos don’t do it justice. Book your camping trip now so you can enjoy them firsthand next summer!

starry sky
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado is an ideal spot to watch the night sky.


During Air Quality Awareness Week in May, we recognized the NPS scientists dedicated to monitoring and protecting air quality in parks. One way they do this is through ozone gardens, like this one at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which allow park staff and citizen scientists to study effects of ground-level ozone on native vegetation.

people work in ozone garden


On Dinosaur Day, June 6, we were so happy to swear in the 100,000th Junior Paleontologist at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. Congratulations, Jacob Kline!

Group holds certificate


World Listening Day, recognized every year on July 18, is one of our favorite days. Yes, stop to smell the roses, but also stop to hear the birds, the frogs, the breeze...you get the idea.

woman sits by lake
What can you hear in Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska?


Just a little something called the Total Solar Eclipse! On August 21, 20 parks from Oregon to South Carolina were in the path of totality. What an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience!

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22 seconds

Timelapse video recorded during the 2017 solar eclipse shows the changing quality of light on the landscape at Medicine Bow National Forest, northwest of Wheatland, WY.

Jeremy White / Video with permission


Throughout the year, our videographer Mackenzie Reed told the stories of some of the scientists in the NPS. These videos in the Stay Curious series explain what motivates and inspires these talented people. In September, Mackenzie spent some time with ecologist Erin Borgman.
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4 minutes, 32 seconds

Video about NPS Ecologist, Erin Borgman's experience with science and choosing the right career path.


We celebrated bats during Bat Week with an extra special bat-focused episode of Outside Science (inside parks). Our crew traveled to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area to see how they study and protect bats.
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3 minutes, 56 seconds

Follow along as our crew learns about bats in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area


The National Mammal, Bison bison, has its very own day...the first Saturday of November. And this is an honor well deserved.
bison stands on hill

And just a few weeks ago, we shared photos of some of our favorite mountains on International Mountains Day. However, everyday is mountain day in the National Park Service!

mountains at sunset
The incomparable mountains of Grand Teton National Park.

We can’t wait to see what will happen in 2018. Best wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Last updated: December 28, 2017