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National Park Service Links

NPS Conservation Study Institute
The Conservation Study Institute is focused on collaborative conservation, offering programs for leadership, community engagement, and partnership networks. For a list of the Institute’s publications click here.

NPS Archeology Program
This link to the “Public Benefits of Archeology” webpage provides information about the ways archeology can involve and benefit communities, educators, historians, and others.

21st Century Relevancy Initiative
Identifying best practices to improve program effectiveness in engaging new communities, 2008. PowerPoint Slides (pdf) and Narrative (pdf) of research update.

NPS Partnerships
This web site contains information on partnerships (much of which involves civic engagement), including how-to’s, publications and other resources, and a database of case studies.

Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance (RTCA)
RTCA, is the community assistance arm of the National Park Service. RTCA staff provide technical assistance to communities so they can conserve rivers, preservw open space, and develop trails and greenways.

RTCA Community Tool Box
Learn about working in and with communities to accomplish shared goals with the Community Tool Box developed by the RTCA.
See Educators section below for more NPS weblinks.

National Park Service Publications

“Archeology and Civic Engagement.” Technical Brief #23 of the NPS Archeology Program, November 2008. (pdf)

An Atlas of Places, People & Hand-Made Products, 2007. (Hard copy only, available by emailing

Beyond Outreach Handbook: A Guide to Designing Effective Programs to Engage Diverse Communities, 2011. (pdf)

“Civic Engagement.” Draft Management Recommendations for the African Burial Ground, chapter 3.  (pdf)

Engaging Young Adults in a Sustainable Future: Strategies for National Parks and Other Special Places
, 2009. (pdf)

Keeping National Parks Relevant in the 21st Century
, 2005 (pdf)

Leading in a Collaborative Environment: Six Case Studies Involving Collaboration and Civic Engagement, 2010. (pdf)

Learning to be Better Neighbors: Case Studies in Civic Engagement Between National Parks and Neighboring Communities, 2006. (pdf)

Learning to Make Choices for the Future: Connecting Public Lands, Schools, and Communities Through Place-based Learning and Civic Engagement
, 2008. (pdf)

“Places of Conscience, Places of Commemoration: How They Define Who Americans Are, and Can Be.” Common Ground: Preserving Our Nation’s Heritage, Winter-Spring 2007. (pdf)

Principles of Successful Civic Engagement in the National Park Service 2011. (pdf)

Scholars Forum: The National Park Service and Civic Reflection
, 2006. (pdf)

Stronger Together: A Manual on the Principles and Practices of Civic Engagement, 2009. (pdf)

National Parks Second Century Commission

In its report, Advancing the National Park Idea, the Commission articulates a future role for the national park system that is relevant to and serves the needs of all Americans. Read the report (pdf) and learn more about the Commission’s work here.

Websites for Educators

Exploring the Real Thing (NPS)                                                       
A guide to curriculum-based programs at national park sites in the Northeast Region, with information on statewide educational frameworks.

A Forest for Every Classroom
Information and sample curricula from a professional development program for educators focused on place-based education; program now being shared and adapted in parks and communities across the country.

Ideas for curriculum and classroom materials, information for students conducting research, a guide to park Junior Ranger programs, and more.

Parks as Classrooms (NPS)
Curriculum, fun and games, a guide to park Junior Ranger programs and other educational media created by the National Park Service and its partners.

Promise of Place
Curriculum and planning tools, stories from the field, networking opportunities, and more; a collaborative effort of the Conservation Study Institute, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, and Shelburne Farms.

Teacher-Ranger-Teacher Program (NPS)
Information on opportunities for classroom teachers to become summer park rangers and then use their experience to bring the park into the classroom.

Teaching with Historic Places (NPS)                                                
Products and activities to help bring historic places into the classroom, using properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places; includes sections on service learning and teaching the power of place.

A Trail to Every Classroom (NPS)
An adaptation of the Forest for Every Classroom model (see above) that is being applied in communities along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

Related Publications

This bibliography of books, articles, and other publications, excerpted from Stronger Together: A Manual on the Principles and Practices of Civic Engagement, includes resources on civic engagement and collaborative conservation. (pdf)

Archeology as a Tool for Civic Engagement. Barbara Little and Paul A. Shackel, eds. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press, 2007.

The Benefits of Place-based Education: A Report from the Place-based Education Collaborative (Second Edition). Place-based Education Evaluation Collaborative. 2010. (pdf)

“The benefits of stakeholder involvement in the development of social science research.” Park Science 27, no. 1 (Spring 2010). (pdf)

“Civic Engagement—What does it mean to us? A perspective from Park Break participants.” Park Break Perspectives.The George Wright Society, 2010. (pdf)

Creating Spaces for Change: Working toward a “story of now” in civic engagement. W.K.Kellogg Foundation. (pdf)

“Diary for a Second Century: A Journey across America’s National Park System in Search of its Future.” The George Wright Forum 26, no. 2 (2009) (pdf)

“Moving Public Participation beyond Compliance: Uncommon Approaches to Finding Common Ground.” The George Wright Forum 26, no. 3 (2009).

“The National Park Service and Civic Engagement.” The George Wright Forum 25, no. 1 (2008). (pdf)

"The New Governance Era: Implications for Collaborative Conservation and Adaptive Management in Department of the Interior Agencies." Human Dimensions of Wildlife 16 (2011). (pdf)

“On the Brink of Greatness: National Parks and the Next Century.” The George Wright Forum 24, no. 2 (2007). (pdf)

“The role of social science research in the national parks: An opportunity for true civic engagement.” Park Break Perspectives. The George Wright Society, 2010. (pdf)

“Whose America? Whose Idea? Making ‘America’s Best Idea’ Reflect New American Realities.” The George Wright Forum 27, no. 2 (2010). (pdf)

“Working with Traditionally Associated Groups: A Form of Civic Engagement.” The George Wright Forum 26, no. 3 (2009). (pdf)

Related Links

These resources offer more about civic engagement and similar initiatives being undertaken by organizations worldwide.

American Association of Museums
This site contains articles on civic engagement emerging from the association’s civic engagement initiative that can be downloaded. Type “civic engagement” into the search engine.

The George Wright Forum
The George Wright Forum, the journal of the George Wright Society, frequently carries articles related to collaborative stewardship and civic engagement. Back issues can be searched and articles downloaded free of charge.

International Coalition of Historic Site Museums of Conscience

This site interprets history through historic sites that stimulate dialogue on pressing social issues and promote humanitarian and democratic values. It also shares opportunities for public involvement in issues raised at the sites.

National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD)
The NCDD is an active network of organizations and professionals involved in dialogue, deliberation and other innovative group processes that help people tackle complex issues.

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
NEH’s “We the People” initiative aims to strengthen the American people’s knowledge of their history.

Pew Partnership for Civic Change

The Pew Partnership offer publications on a range of topics related to civic engagement.

Society for American Archeology
This site, “Archeology for the Public,” provides various resources for teachers and others.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency -- Evaluation
This site contains summaries of nearly forty evaluations and reports focused on the public involvement activities of EPA and other agencies. Each summary is searchable by environmental topic, and describes the focus of the evaluation, data collection methods, and key findings and recommendations.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — Public Participation
This site has good information on public involvement in decision-making processes, including information on alternative dispute resolution.

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