In My Backyard

A drawing with plants, animals and words that read Our National Park.


A blue logo of a tree's silhouette in the foreground with a mountain in the background
In My Backyard Logo created by Kate, Klondike’s Artist-In-Residence and former IMBY Intern

The In My Backyard (IMBY) Program is the first of its kind in the National Park Service (NPS). It is a grassroots effort by youth to find creative, innovative ways to engage fellow youth with the park’s surrounding communities, partners, and public lands. In doing so, these young professionals (known as IMBYs) increase access and engagement with national parks through designing equitable programming, as well as cultivating networks of their own.

The hope of IMBY is to help foster the next generation of stewards and to create opportunities for unacknowledged communities in the NPS. This includes communities of color, communities with disabilities, LGBTQ+ communities, youth, and other groups that experience systemic oppression.

Young people have existing strengths, resources, and capabilities that have yet to be tapped; IMBY is here to provide resources and create space that empowers individuals to lead change and be decision-makers. IMBY recognizes that individuals are intersectional and that barriers to access public lands vary. IMBY was created by youth, for youth to not only address such barriers but to actively invite different voices to share ideas and stories that can create a sense of belonging for all in our public lands.

Exhibit with words on wall, picture frames, and tables located in the middle of the room
Apply Today

Learn more about current internship opportunities.

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NPS Hartzog Awards

Read about the IMBY recipients of the 2018 cohort for outstanding stewardship service.

Group of people looking at a drawing together.
Youth Blog

Years of content created by youth are waiting for you to dive into.

Four people standing together, holding a sign they designed.
IMBY Mission

Explore the ‘why’ behind IMBY and how the mission motivates youth today.

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IMBY Beginnings

Adventure into the beginnings and how the program is created by youth, for youth.

Three people drawing on pieces of paper, holding markers.

The park’s social with posts by youth, showcasing current projects, events, and people making the program possible.

People standing at the end of the table playing rickshaw.

NPS Photo/M.Young

Internship Overview

IMBY is a paid internship opportunity for high school-aged youth (13-18 years old), based out of Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park - Seattle.

IMBY recognizes and responds to the importance of youth representation, and provides opportunities and platforms for youth leaders to add their voices to the ongoing public lands narrative. Park staff will collaborate with youth to feature their creations on the park website, community networks, and social media. Through this program, youth leaders will:

  • Receive important tools to become leaders in their communities and progress along their public lands journey.

  • Develop professionally through mentorship, training, networking, and more.

  • Create a sense of community while building knowledge of local resources.

IMBY Youth will be compensated at Seattle’s minimum wage. Activities, guest speakers, and discussions during the internship will center on weekly themes which include self-discovery, advocacy, stewardship, storytelling, and more.


Program Highlights

A Place at the Park Exhibit

In My Backyard’s 2019 Cohort created their own exhibit at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park - Seattle visitor center!

The 2019 summer program was centered on the overarching question: What would your ideal national park be like? A main goal of this approach was two-fold: to give youth the space to express their experiences and opinions and to give the NPS the opportunity to listen and learn from its next generation of visitors, workforce, and supporters.

Challenged by IMBY staff to dream big and bold in their exhibit designs, interns rose to the occasion in challenging current perceptions about national parks and reinforcing what they would like to continue to see in public spaces! Through diverse styles (including LEGO, canvas paintings, black-and-white photography, and visual storytelling), interns collaborated with program staff to capture their unique ideas in the form of an exhibit.

Community Mural Party

After the 2019 exhibit was installed, the youth interns then hosted a Community Mural Party! Each youth intern created a mural on a canvas to then be completed by community members.

On each of the fourteen canvases were two elements: one word that describes how the youth intern wants to feel in their ideal national park and symbolism they felt was representative of that feeling. For example, one youth intern desired to feel “awe” in their ideal national park and knew mountains would elicit that feeling for them.

The Community Mural Party welcomed community members into the park, where the A Place at the Park Exhibit was located, to grab materials, and paint each canvas as a community. After the event, all the canvases were painted and brought together to create a mural that was featured at community events, on social media platforms, and now reside inside Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park - Seattle.

Left:Person standing in a colorful exhibit room. Right:Person holding a paintbrush, painting on a canvas.
Four people smiling in a garden.


Last updated: December 8, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

319 Second Ave S.
Seattle, WA 98104


206 220-4240

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