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Contact: Public Affairs Office, 252-473-2111
Thursday, August 25, 2016 is National Park Service Founders Day and the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the National Park Service! Superintendent David Hallac invites the public to experience their national park sites on the Outer Banks; Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, and Wright Brothers National Memorial. Special Founders Day programs will be offered at each site, and entrance to Wright Brothers National Memorial will be free August 25–28.
On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Organic Act, creating the National Park Service. This year’s centennial celebration will be a time for all Americans to celebrate their national park sites—places that connect us to our histories and our environment . . . places that promote mental, physical, and spiritual health . . . places that enliven the human spirit.
The parks of the Outer Banks Group are part of a vast network of sites protecting our natural and cultural heritage from coast to coast. Join a ranger on August 25 to explore the last 100 years of the National Park Service, and look forward to the agency’s future during a Meanings of the National Park Service program (20 minutes) at:
11:00 am at the Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center,
12:00 pm at the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site Visitor Center,
1:00 pm at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Ocracoke Visitor Center,
1:30 pm at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Hatteras Island Visitor Center Pavilion,
3:00 pm at the Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center, and
3:30 pm at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Bodie Island Visitor Center.
Additionally, at 12 pm on August 25, there will be a Build Your Own Arrowhead activity program (20 minutes) at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Hatteras Island Visitor Center Pavilion. The National Park Service arrowhead has unique symbolism related to the agency’s mission. Kids are invited come and build their own arrowhead with special significance.
The series of special programs on August 25 conclude with a unique Night Sky program at the Ocracoke Day Use Area. The activities begin at 7 pm, and will include talks about NPS history; tales of the sea, pirates, and Ocracoke; the Dark Sky initiative; and night sky photography. Attendees are encouraged to bring ingredients to make s’mores over the bonfire!
Throughout the week leading up to the Centennial, there will be a Centennial Birthday Card for visitors to sign at the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site Visitor Center.
Kids can also earn Junior Ranger badges by completing a workbook and attending programs at each of the three parks. Just go to the visitor center and pick up a Junior Ranger booklet to get started. Children who cannot visit a national park site in person are invited to take part in the national “WebRangers” activities at www.nps.gov/webrangers.
For a fun and free way to learn more about the National Park Service on Founders Day, you can take a free on-line course titled Introduction to the National Park Service: Its History and Mission. This 30-40 minute course is designed for anyone who has an interest in the agency and can be accessed at http://provalenslearning.com/courses/introduction-to-the-national-park-service-the-history-of-the-nps-2014. Completion of this course can provide teachers with 0.2 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits.
The National Park System has been described as “the best idea America ever had.” National parks are critical to protecting the Earth and are connected to a global conservation community. They reveal a comprehensive national identity, connecting us to ourselves and each other. For more information on the NPS Centennial, go to https://www.nps.gov/subjects/centennial/index.htm.