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The National Park Service Midwest Region is partnering with the Innovators Educational Foundation to showcase science innovation by hosting the 2016 American Solar Challenge. University teams from around the world will design and build solar-powered cars, and then drive them 1,800 miles on the open road, visiting 9 Midwest parks in 7 states.
Visitors will be invited to see the cars and enjoy park activities, including a traveling exhibit and other special programs. This 8-day centennial event will take place from July 30 to August 6, 2016. Day 1 will see the teams starting at Cuyahoga Valley National Park and will meander through Ohio with a stopping point at Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park. Cars will gather at Carillon Historical Park as they arrive in Dayton.
"I am glad to welcome this unique event to the Midwest Region," said Regional Director Cam Sholly. "The American Solar Challenge is an opportunity to share spectacular park resources with new audiences and emphasize efforts the National Park Service is making to 'Go Green.'"
As part of the 2016 Centennial, the National Park Service has challenged itself to provide more research and education around the effects of climate change on national park resources. The National Park Service has also committed to help young people make new connections to national parks, and this collaboration allows innovative students to connect their work on new technology to their parks.Among other things, the Green Parks Program encourages walking, biking, ride-sharing, and use of fuel-efficient or alternative-fuel vehicles.
Every two years, the Innovators Educational Foundation organizes the American Solar Challenge, which is a collegiate student competition to design, build, and drive solar-powered vehicles in a cross-country time/distance rally event. "We're looking forward to the American Solar Challenge 2016 being part of the National Park Service Centennial and bringing the solar cars to 9 national park locations across the Midwest. We hope visitors will take this opportunity to see the solar cars, meet the teams, and find their park," says Event Organizer Gail Lueck.