Fourth NPS Academy Welcomes Diverse College Students for Spring Break Orientation

Former NPS Director Bob Stanton will serve as keynote speaker and mentor for the Fourth NPS Academy at Grand Teton NP.

Grand Teton National Park photo

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News Release Date: March 6, 2014

Contact: Public Affairs Office, 307.739.3393

Four years ago, Grand Teton National Park and key collaborators—The Student Conservation Association (SCA) and Teton Science Schools (TSS) — developed and launched the first-ever NPS Academy as a pilot program for college students from across America with diverse backgrounds.Critical funding for this program comes from the Grand Teton National Park Foundation and Grand Teton Association, two dedicated and long-standing park partners. The pilot program was so successful, that other National Park Service (NPS) units replicated it. Today, four out of six national park regions now host an NPS Academy program. 

With its supporting organizations, Grand Teton is poised to continue this successful and growing program during a spring break session scheduled for March 9-15. Twenty-five students from universities across the U.S.  will attend the 2014 NPS Academy to learn about career opportunities with the NPS and other federal agencies via workshops, field trips, and recreational activities.  

After successful completion of the March program, NPS Academy students will be placed into summer internships at a number of parks throughout the country: national parks that range from Acadia in Maine to Wrangell-St. Elias in Alaska, from Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee to both Yellowstone and Grand Teton in northwestern Wyoming. 

Prominent NPS professionals will address this year's participants, serve as mentors to the students, and help inspire these young adults toward careers with federal agencies. Key NPS leaders for the 2014 session at Grand Teton include: Robert G. "Bob" Stanton, former NPS Director (1997-2001) and currently Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior; Liz Putnam, founder of the Student Conservation Association; Dr. Joy Kinard, central district manager of the National Capital Parks, and Spirit Trickey, chief of interpretation at Klondike Goldrush National Historic Park; and David Vela, the incoming superintendent for Grand Teton National Park. These Park Service leaders will serve as program facilitators and keynote speakers.   

"I am both honored and delighted to begin my tenure at Grand Teton National Park by taking part in such a worthy program as the 2014 NPS Academy," said David Vela, Grand Teton's new superintendent. "Through this and other programs, we're taking important steps to build a more relevant and inclusive federal workforce. And since its inception in 2011, it's important to note that this program has now expanded to the NPS' Alaska, Southeast and Northeast regions, with the ongoing assistance from our SCA and other partners."              

The NPS Academy was inspired by a Department of the Interior proposal aimed at engaging America's youth in the great outdoors and introducing them to careers as professionals in resource management. As part of a broader NPS initiative titled, A Call to Action, the program addresses concerns that youth are not engaging in the outdoors and that few Americans from diverse backgrounds are not visiting the parks, despite growing minority populations. The 'Call to Action' is a plan designed to prepare the Park Service and its employees for a second century of conservation and service. This 21st century initiative creates a vision, charts a path to stewardship and engagement, and asks NPS employees and partner organizations to commit to concrete actions that advance the historic Park Service mission. The heart of the plan includes four themes: Connecting People to Parks; Advancing the Education Mission; Preserving America's Special Places; and Enhancing Professional and Organizational Excellence. These themes are supported by specific goals and measurable actions. 

For further information about the NPS Academy, contact Megan Kohli at 307.739.3656 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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