January 7, 2016
Public Affairs Office, 307.739.3431
MOOSE, WY —Grand Teton National Park will kick off the National Park Service centennial year with a new and exciting program called Mountains to Main Street beginning on January 10, 2016. This eight-week program aims to actively engage under-represented, urban youth with their national parks through the leadership and community-mobilization expertise of young adults who will serve as Mountains to Main Street Urban Ambassadors. After a week-long training workshop in the park, the ambassadors will return to their communities where they will lead the celebration of the National Park Service centennial and connect inner city populations with national parks.
The 30 urban ambassadors, ages 18 to 25, are primarily from inner city neighborhoods across the country, ranging from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles. The workshop will use the iconic beauty of Grand Teton National Park and local outreach success stories to prepare the highly-motivated Urban Ambassadors for their seven-week internship. Ambassadors will use the lessons and training in the park to develop action plans for outreach projects that they will conduct in their home cities. The projects will create deep, long-lasting connections between their neighborhood members and national parks.
"The urban ambassadors and families in their neighborhoods rarely, if ever, have the opportunity to visit a national park, even if there is one in their own backyard," said Superintendent David Vela. "These ambassadors will help bridge that gap. We have such a privilege to work in an iconic landscape like this one and use it as a catalyst for change, conservation, and education even in far-reaching urban areas."
Mountains to Main Street is a collaborative partnership between Groundwork USA, The Student Conservation Association, and Teton Science Schools. The program is made possible through the fundraising efforts of Grand Teton National Park Foundation and Grand Teton Association.
Inspired by the National Park Service's Urban Agenda –a call for parks to better serve the urban communities where 80 percent of Americans live –Mountains to Main Street seeks to redefine national parks for the next generation of park visitors, supporters, and advocates. More than 30 percent of National Park Service units are located within urban areas and yet are often overlooked as resources that could meet community needs.
Those on social media can track the progress and experiences of the ambassadors using the hashtag #Mountains2MainStreet. As the National Park Service celebrates its centennial and envisions its second century legacy, Grand Teton National Park asks the public to establish a meaningful personal connection with their public lands. Everyone is encouraged to take the mission of Mountains to Main Street a step further by introducing someone to a national park unit and the National Park Service's legacy of stewardship in 2016.