News Release Date: January 5, 2017
Contact: Kristy Burnett, 970-267-7205
WASHINGTON -- Staff in the Natural Resource Stewardship and Science (NRSS) directorate celebrated the National Park Service Centennial throughout 2016 in many ways. We work to apply science-based solutions to natural resource challenges in all of our parks, from air quality to light pollution to fossil protection to climate change. The scientific work done by our staff in collaboration with park staff inspires stewardship of the many natural resources within our parks.
2016 was filled with achievements in every part of NRSS. It’s impossible to list them all, so here are a few highlights that show how our scientific work is integrated across NRSS and the NPS as a whole.
- Our video series Outside Science (inside parks) launched a new 5-minute webisode each month showing young people engaged in science in our national parks. We covered a variety of topics from a porpoise fossil discovery to collecting dragonfly larvae, and we highlighted stories all over the NPS, including in Hawaii, Arkansas, and Massachusetts. This series reached more than 800,000 viewers and introduced young people to ways they can get involved in #parkscience.
- BioBlitz 2016 in May was a huge success! NRSS staff teamed up with people from more than 100 different national parks, to host the 10th annual cooperative BioBlitz with National Geographic in Washington, DC. During this 2-day inventory and celebration of biodiversity, 6,615 citizen scientists and NPS personnel identified 13,056 unique species in national parks!
- The Climate Change Response Program (CCRP) partnered with No Barriers Youth to host a Climate Change Bootcamp. High school students attended a 3-day program at two different parks and learned from park staff how to conduct some specific experiments. On the third day local 4th graders arrived to earn their Every Kid in a Park pass by working with the high school students monitoring coastal erosion and completing transects through wetlands. It was inspiring to see high school students share their newly gained knowledge so effectively and enthusiastically with their younger peers. Watch videos from the Bootcamp.
- In early August, the Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division (NSNSD) joined the CCRP and the Midwest region to celebrate innovation and renewable energy technology at Scotts Bluff National Monument, one of nine national park stops in the 2016 American Solar Challenge race course. To compete, Solar Challenge collegiate participants design and drive solar cars across the country. At the Scotts Bluff checkpoint, NSNSD staff shared with visitors and participants the dual benefits often achieved by solar car technology. In comparison to combustion cars, solar-powered cars reduce both carbon emissions as well as the amount of noise they add to the environment. This is especially important in national parks, where natural sounds provide enjoyment to visitors and protect animal communication and survival.
- Throughout the year, web authors spent many hours making digital content available in a mobile-friendly format to serve visitors who use smartphones or tablets. More than 25 new websites bring content about natural resources, science, and stewardship in our national parks to the virtual visitors. Explore Nature through these new sites.
“I am truly proud of the variety and extent of work accomplished by NRSS and park staff in helping protect and understand natural and cultural resources in 2016,” said Associate Director Ray Sauvajot. “All of the hard work and dedication during our Centennial celebration sets the stage for a second century of using science in our parks and engaging young people in the conservation of national park resources.”
Looking Ahead: Find Your Park in 2017 and Preparing for a Second Century of Service
The science and stewardship in NRSS is integral to fulfilling the mission of the National Park Service to preserve the natural resources for future generations, and we’re enthusiastic to extend this work into 2017 and beyond. NRSS staff will continue long-term monitoring of ecosystems, and we’ll welcome more young people to engage in science and stewardship in our national parks. A new episode of Outside Science will air every other month, and scientists will sustain our commitments to clean air, natural sounds, and biodiversity in parks and beyond.
More information about the success and long term legacy of the NPS Centennial is available online here: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/centennial/success.htm.