International Activities Update, October - December 2018

Superintendent Burghart poses with townspeople at a small village in Equatorial Guinea.
Superintendent Burghart poses with a group of villagers in Equatorial Guinea.

Image by NPS.

Africa - Equatorial Guinea Hosts NPS Embassy Speaker

U.S. Embassy Malabo, in collaboration with State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs, hosted an expert from the U.S. National Parks Service for a six-day visit to Equatorial Guinea. NPS ranger Becky Burghart, Manhattan Project National Historical Park-Hanford Site Manager, shared her expertise on how national parks can contribute to the economy while protecting the environment. The speaker participated in a series of meetings with government leaders, spoke to local audiences, gave interviews on television and radio, and toured several national parks and nature reserves. The visit highlighted the tremendous potential of ecotourism in Equatorial Guinea and the serious challenges that could hinder growth in this industry. The Embassy Speakers program promotes understanding and diplomacy between the U.S. and other nations by providing opportunities for specialists to meet with their in-country counterparts, facilitating the exchange of management methods, best practices, and ideas.

NPS Contact: Rebecca Burghart
Conference attendees watch a PowerPoint presentation.
Conference attendees watch a PowerPoint presentation.

NPS image.

Arctic - NPS Participates in the Arctic Biodiversity Congress

National Park Service staff from the Alaska Region attended the Arctic Biodiversity Congress, in support of the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council’s Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) Working Group.

Nearly 500 participants from 26 countries, including the eight Arctic nations, as well as permanent participants representing Arctic native communities, and international networks of scientists, managers, conservation organizations, government agencies, and Arctic community experts and leaders attended the Congress, held in Rovaniemi, Finland, in October 2018.

NPS Alaska representatives serve as co-leads and technical experts for multiple working groups within the CAFF Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program. At the Congress, NPS delegates chaired sessions, convened partnership meetings, presented monitoring protocols, and discussed their experience in managing protected areas in the Arctic.
NPS Contact: Leigh Welling
A collection of pictures from the Italian Forest Corps visit to the US.
A collage of images from the Italian Forest Corps.

NPS image.

Europe - NPS Cooperates with Italian Forest Corps

Thanks to the U.S. Embassy in Rome, the NPS has initiated a relationship with Italy’s Forest Carabinieri Corps, who protect Italy’s national parks. NPS Chief Scientist, Dr. Raymond Sauvajot, inaugurated the partnership by sharing lessons learned in national park natural resource management in Rome in November. Forest Carabinieri officers and NPS staff then attended the US-Italy Joint Committee meeting in Washington, DC in December to discuss potential areas of cooperation. NPS subsequently hosted site visits to Shenandoah and Rocky Mountain National Parks, where our Italian colleagues were able to learn more about forest health and air quality monitoring at each NPS unit

NPS Contact: Rudy D'Alessandro

Artifacts on display.
Artifacts on display.

NPS image.

Europe – History and Archaeology Link England and the United States

.In October 2018, Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site curator Emily Murphy couriered six objects from the park’s collections back from the Palace Green Library at Durhamc University, England, where they had been in an exhibit ‘Bodies of Evidence: How Science Unearthed Durham’s Dark Secret.’ Saugus’s involvement in this exhibit begins at the 1650 Battle of Dunbar, when Oliver Cromwell’s forces captured 6,000 prisoners during the English Civil War, 150 of whom were sent to Massachusetts as indentured servants. 70 of those were then indentured at what eventually became the Saugus Iron Works. Curator Murphy felt that the exhibit confirmed that even at a small site, NPS museum collections are world class, and not only nationally significant, but connect to larger global stories.

NPS Contact: Emily Murphy

The superintendents during their international training programs.
The superintendents during their international training programs.

NPS image.

Global – NPS Managers Learning From our Colleagues Abroad

For a second consecutive year, thanks to a generous private donation made through the National Park Foundation, NPS Superintendents were able to visit parks and heritage sites outside the U.S. to engage with colleagues to explore new approaches and share experiences in common management issues. This was the first opportunity to travel internationally on official business for the three selected NPS employees.

Kevin Schneider, of Acadia National Park in Maine, visited Australia, meeting with managers and leaders of Parks Victoria in Melbourne, followed by several days at Wilson’s Promontory National Park, where he learned how the park handles visitor congestion and evaluates new commercial uses. Moss Rudley, Superintendent of the NPS Historic Preservation Training Center in Maryland, spent time in Scotland learning from colleagues at Historic Environment Scotland about building trades skill development and historic preservation maintenance including incorporating new technology in these endeavors. Mark Sturm of Katmai National Park travelled to South Africa to observe how counterparts at Kruger National Park integrate ecological research and monitoring with their resource management approach. All three NPS managers were struck by how familiar the challenges facing their counterparts were to those they are dealing with at home. OIA sponsored the travel, which took place in December, and hopes to receive additional funds to continue the program next year.
NPS Contact: Stephen Morris
Hiking in the Sonoran Desert.
Hiking in the Sonoran Desert.

NPS Image.

International Volunteers Assist NPS Sonoran Desert Monitoring Network
Slovak International Volunteer-in-Parks (IVIP) David Mach and his wife recently completed a 6-month internship with the NPS Sonoran Desert Network, an inventory and monitoring network that covers 11 NPS park units across Arizona and New Mexico. His exuberance shows from the note he posted online about his experience: “I am so thankful for these kind, friendly and funny people (scientists at heart!). This experience helped me find [the] direction I would like to pursue my career. I spent more time in [American] national parks than in my home country. I learned so much from all the field trips, meeting new people, doing many different projects and protocols!”

NPS contact: Linda Bennett
NPS Public Information Officer Jeremy Barnum (second from right) with government officials.
NPS Public Information Officer Jeremy Barnum with UAE and US Embassy staff.

NPS Image.

Middle East – NPS Embassy Speaker Visits United Arab Emirates

The U.S. Consulate in Dubai, in collaboration with State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs, hosted NPS Chief Spokesperson Jeremy Barnum for a five-day visit to the United Arab Emirates in October. Barnum met with government leaders, tourism promotion agencies, and youth groups in six of the seven emirates to discuss how the NPS communicates with the public about conservation, outdoor recreation, and sustainable tourism. Ecotourism is in its nascent stages in the UAE, but there is significant interest in promoting the unique desert and coastal landscapes to visitors. Barnum also participated in media interviews and screenings of the IMAX film ‘National Park Adventure’ to promote international visitation to U.S. national parks in coordination with the U.S. Department of Commerce and BrandUSA. The Embassy Speakers program promotes understanding and diplomacy between the U.S. and other nations.

NPS Contact: Jeremy Barnum

An image of the MOU signing between Argentina and the NPS.
Argentina and US Government representatives shake hands after the MOU signing ceremony.

NPS Image.

South America - Argentina and NPS Sign New Bilateral Agreement

Our most recent international partnership was formalized during an official signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between NPS and Argentina’s National Park
Administration (APN). The event took place in December 2018 at the Casa Rosada (official residence and office of the Argentine President), with the MOU signed by the U.S. Ambassador to Argentina, Edward C. Prado, and Eugenio Breard, president of APN. During the 2000s, NPS had two active ‘sister parks’ with APN – between Pinnacles National Park in California and Quebrada del Condorito National Park, focused largely on the conservation of condors, and between Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming and Los Glaciares National Park, emphasizing the development and maintenance of park trails. The new MOU between NPS and APN calls for collaboration in a variety of park management topics, including park planning, public use, natural resource management, interpretation and education, among others. This collaboration will include the sharing of information, occasional staff exchanges, workshops and on-line training.

NPS Contact: Jon Putnam
Conference attendees stand together for a photo.
Members of the UNWTO Conference.

NPS Image.

World – NPS Participates in the UNWTO Conference on Historic Routes

Superintendent Aaron Mahr from the NPS National Trails Intermountain Region office participated in an conference sponsored by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on ‘World Civilizations and Historic Routes,’ in Sofia, Bulgaria in November 2018. The conference explored ways in which world civilizations are brought to life through tourism, in particular by making use of networks developed along historic routes. Superintendent Mahr presented examples, success stories, and experiences learned from NPS management of National Historic and National Scenic Trails. In particular, Mahr discussed trails that cross national borders and require government-to-government collaboration like the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail. At the request of the UNWTO, the unique and highly collaborative
management structure of the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program was also highlighted.

NPS Contact:
Aaron Mahr

Last updated: March 4, 2019

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