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Contact: Mindi Rambo, 212-668-2208
NEW YORK, New York - The United States' maritime history became a hands-on experience for a group of students from the urban areas of Massachusetts, New York and Maryland this week when the National Park Service's (NPS) tall ship the Friendship of Salem sailed from Salem Maritime National Historic Site in Massachusetts on Aug. 7 for New York City and three days of youth leadership, fellowship and stewardship before returning to Salem on Aug. 16. This is the first time the Friendship has sailed on an overnight voyage with a crew that includes students and its first trip to New York from Salem making this unique experience a once-in-a-lifetime event.
Today, 37 students ranging in age from 18 to 22 who are part of the NPS's intern programs in Massachusetts, New York and Maryland, learned about sailing a faithful reproduction of a piece of maritime history under the guidance of the Friendship crew - the ship's captain and two mates from the NPS and more than 20 adults who volunteer regularly with the ship. The young people are also learning about ocean stewardship as well as the lore of the sea and the country's maritime past as part of the overall program.
The students began their adventure with a special program where they were welcomed to the ship through a ceremony that included the presentation of symbolic gifts, brief talks on the history of the Friendship and its role as an NPS ambassador, and a flag raising ceremony reflecting the Friendship's heritage as an East Indiaman trading vessel from the turn of the 19th Century.
"I have to share a secret," said Deputy Director of the NPS Peggy O'Dell during her remarks. "The NPS has favorites: kids of all ages. In them, we see not only the future of our nation, but also the future stewards of the national parks - their national parks."
O'Dell went on to share some of the ways children, teens and college students can learn about and enjoy their national parks: Junior Ranger programs at the parks, online games at www.nps.gov/webrangers, education programs that turn parks into classrooms and youth employment and internship programs which "make sure that those young people not only get a job, but an opportunity to try out a career."
Following the ceremony, the Friendship left the marina for a four-hour voyage around New York Harbor, where the students had the opportunity to discover what life was like for sailors during the late 18th-Century, hauling lines and rigging sails among other duties.
Students participating in the program come from Salem Maritime National Historic Site, Lowell National Historical Park, Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site, New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, Gateway National Recreation Area, Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island, Governors Island National Monument, Castle Clinton National Monument, African Burial Ground National Monument. Federal Hall National Monument, General Grant National Memorial, St. Paul's Church National Historic Site and Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine.
The students will also serve as ambassadors for the Friendship and the Youth Intern Program, providing free interpretive programs to the public from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Aug. 13 at the Friendship's berth at North Cove Marina in NYC's Battery Park City.
"All of us at the 10 National Park Service sites that make up the National Parks of New York Harbor are delighted to have the Friendship visit us here in New York City and hope her voyage between Salem Maritime National Historic Site and us will be the first of many," noted National Parks of New York Harbor Commissioner Maria Burks.
Throughout the journey, these young people will share their experiences in real time via blog at www.friendshipnps.wordpress.com as well as through individual Twitter feeds which are listed on the blog site.
About the Friendship of Salem
The Friendship is a partnership project between the National Park Service and the Essex National Heritage Area. The Friendship of Salem is a full-size replica of the original ship constructed by the renowned shipbuilder Enos Briggs in Salem in 1797. She is a 171-foot three-masted "East Indiaman" - the type of merchant ship that made Salem a leader in the opening of international trade with the Far East, Europe and Russia in the years immediately following the American Revolution. The Friendship is the largest wooden, Coast Guard certified, sailing vessel to be built in New England in more than a century. She is part of the National Park Service's Salem Maritime National Historic Site and is a fully operational sailing vessel. Learn more at https://www.nps.gov/sama/historyculture/friendshiphistory.htm and http://www.friendshipofsalem.org
About The National Parks of New York Harbor
The National Parks of New York Harbor helps coordinate 10 National Parks with 23 unique destinations in New York City and northern New Jersey. The National Parks of New York Harbor includes nearly 27,000 acres and welcomes more than 12 million visitors each year. The parks offer year-round public programs, curriculum-based education, recreational opportunities, natural habitats, historic buildings and museum collections. There are also many opportunities to become involved in volunteer and stewardship activities.