Grand Teton National Park to Host Second Year of NPS Academy for College Students

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Date: February 24, 2012
Contact: Public Affairs, 307.739.3393

In partnership with The Student Conservation Association, Teton Science Schools, Grand Teton National Park Foundation and Grand Teton Association, Grand Teton National Park will again sponsor and lead an innovative program designed to introduce college students to career opportunities with the National Park Service (NPS) and other federal agencies. In 2011, Grand Teton initiated a pilot program-called NPS Academy-for students from diverse backgrounds across the United States. The program, conducted during spring break, was inspired by a Department of the Interior initiative aimed at engaging America's youth in the great outdoors and introducing them to careers as natural and cultural resource professionals. The promising new program will expand this year to include sessions at both Grand Teton and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

Grand Teton's NPS Academy will take place from March 5-9. Participants will learn about a range of career possibilities with the Park Service through seminars, workshops, field trips and recreational activities. After successful completion of the March program, students will be placed into summer internships at a number of parks throughout America: national parks that range from Acadia in Maine to Wrangell-St. Elias in Alaska, from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan and Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee to both Grand Teton and Yellowstone in Wyoming. 

Prominent NPS professionals will address participants, serve as mentors to the students, and help inspire them toward future careers. Key Park Service leaders for the 2012 NPS Academy include: Gerard Baker, a Mandan-Hidatsa tribal elder, superintendent of Mount Rushmore National Memorial (2004-2010), NPS assistant director for American Indian Relations (2010), and founder of Yellow Wolf, Inc.-a consulting firm dedicated to educating government agencies about communication with American Indian tribes; and Mickey Fearn, NPS deputy director for Communications and Community Assistance, who is responsible for youth programs, partnerships, state and local assistance programs, international affairs, and legislative and congressional affairs, among other duties. Two NPS Academy alumni, Joseph Vaughn and Ali Merlo, will return to mentor the 2012 participants. In addition, Quinton Martin, vice president of community partnerships for Coca-Cola and Christy Baker, cultural anthropologist for the NPS Intermountain Office of Indian Affairs and American Culture will participate in a panel discussion focused on partnerships and workforce diversity.  

NPS Academy student, Carl Forster, created a video highlighting the 2011 pilot program. Melinda Binks, of Fall Creek Productions, served as his mentor on this project and helped to produce a final product. Please link to this video on YouTube at   

For further information about the NPS Academy, contact Vanessa Torres at 307.739.3657 or email her at e-mail us

The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is the only national organization that develops tomorrow's   conservation leaders by providing high school and college-age students with conservation service opportunities in all 50 states, from urban communities to national parks and national forests. Since 1957, SCA's hands-on practice of conservation service has helped to develop new generations of conservation leaders, inspire lifelong stewardship, and help to save the planet. For more information, visit  

Teton Science Schools (TSS) is a private, non-profit educational organization, operating year-round in Jackson Hole, Wyoming in partnership with Grand Teton National Park. Since 1967, TSS has provided education about the natural world and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The organization educates and inspires hundreds of youth and adults each year through the study of nature and place-based experiences. TSS' innovative programs serve students from across Wyoming, the Intermountain West, the nation and the world. For more information, visit  

Grand Teton National Park Foundation (GTNPF) provides financial support to programs and projects that help preserve and protect Grand Teton National Park and its resources. Established in 1997, the GTNPF was created in the spirit of philanthropy exemplified by the generosity, stewardship and dedication of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and others. The Foundation raised private funds for construction of the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center and fully funded an auditorium wing on the Discovery Center that opened in 2011. GTNPF also supports a variety of other important projects that contribute to protection of park resources, support scientific studies, promote stewardship, and fund youth-based initiatives such as the NPS Academy. For information, visit  

Grand Teton Association (GTA) is a nonprofit corporation established in 1937 to support Grand Teton National Park. The Association fosters understanding of the park's mission and increases visitor appreciation and enjoyment by publishing and distributing informational and historical reference materials, guidebooks, and a variety of other educational publications. GTA operates interpretive sales areas in all park visitor centers, the Menor's Ferry historic district, Jackson Hole Airport, Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center, National Elk Refuge and nineteen district ranger stations on two national forests. All profits earned support educational, interpretive, and scientific programs in Grand Teton and across the Greater Yellowstone Area. For more information, visit


Last updated: February 24, 2015

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