International Activities Update, July - September 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
An image of a red helicopter used during the study of Alaskan shorebirds.
A helicopter was used to locate and study the breeding Spoon-billed Sandpipers.

NPS image.

Arctic - NPS Partners with WCS to Bring Russian Experts to Alaska

In collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the NPS Alaska Regional Office worked with Russian scientists, Evgeny Syroechkovskiy and Elena Lappo, who are experts in locating and studying breeding spoon-billed Sandpipers. Their help was part of the effort to obtain critical information to mitigate threats to declining shorebirds in the arctic. Part of this work was focused on identifying important coastal sites in the Bering and Chukchi Sea regions that support aggregations of shorebirds and document species composition, relative abundance and habitat preferences. Data analysis from this cooperative research effort is ongoing and a short paper will be completed later this winter.
NPS Contact: Laura Phillips
The delegation from Libya stands with the Manassas Battlefield park superintendent.
The delegation from Libya stands with Manassas Superintendent Brandon Bies.

NPS image.

Africa - Libyan Antiquities Officials learn about NPS Efforts to Protect Cultural Resources

Libyan archaeologists from the Department of Antiquities and Libyan Tourism Police met with various NPS specialists in Washington, DC involved in cultural heritage resource protection, thanks to the efforts of colleagues at Oberlin College. Effigy Mounds National Monument ranger David Barland-Liles spoke to the delegation by way of video-conferencing and shared his experience how, as the sole law enforcement officer of a park with over 1,000 acres, he manages to monitor and prevent looting, poaching, and other criminal activity in the park, particularly thanks to the use of volunteers and GIS technology. The Libyans also visited Manassas National Battlefield to meet Superintendent Brandon Bies and members of his staff for a tour of the battlefield and a discussion about how the NPS protects the cultural resources.

NPS Contact: David Krewson

A delegation from China listens to park staff at Rocky Mountain National Park.
The Chinese delegation listen to an interpretive presentation at Rocky Mountain National Park.

NPS image.

Asia - NPS Hosts Chinese National Parks Planning Delegation

Under a statement of cooperation to work with China’s National Development and Reform Commission to help China establish a national park system, the NPS hosted a high-level Chinese delegation led by the NDRC’s Social Development division. The delegation, which included representatives from several Ministries and the State Administration of Forests and Grasslands (SAFG), had formal meetings with NPS senior management in Anchorage, Alaska, attended lectures delivered by NPS staff and made field site visits to the NPS Denver Service Center, as well as Denali and Rocky Mountain national park units. U.S.-based NGO partners, Paulson Institute and Global Parks, helped organize the study tour in cooperation with the NPS. China plans to establish its national park system in 2020.

NPS Contact: Rudy D'Alessandro

An NPS park ranger stands with Nepalese officials in front of a temple.
NPS Deputy Associate Director Kirk Cordell stands with officials from Nepal in front of a temple.

NPS image.

Asia - NPS Supports Traditional Nepali Approaches to Historic Preservation

As Nepal has sought to recover from the devastating effects of earthquakes that damaged many historic structures in Kathmandu, controversies have arisen over the best approach to restoring public buildings. After seeing such severe damage at many of their ancient sites, some Nepalis concluded that traditional construction methods were inadequate in such a seismically active area. In response to modern concrete and steel approaches advocated by other nations providing funding for reconstruction, the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu turned to the NPS to provide an expert in cultural heritage preservation technology. NPS Deputy Associate Director Kirk Cordell accepted the opportunity to visit Nepal under the Embassy Speakers Program. He engaged local Nepali leaders and communities to share lessons learned in preservation projects. One criticism of the other funders is that they did all the planning and made all the decisions and presented their projects to Nepal as done deals, with no local input. U.S. funding to preservation and restoration efforts in Nepal supports traditional materials, traditional construction methods, and traditional tradesman, with only minimal additions to improve safety, while recognizing that there is a critical need for scientific research on the performance of traditional Nepali construction methods and materials. Much work remains to be done.
NPS Contact: Kirk Cordell
Icelandic environmental officials listen to a ranger from Rock Creek Park.
Members of the Icelandic delegation present a Rock Creek park ranger with a guide-book to Iceland.

NPS Image.

Europe - Icelandic Environment Minister Leads Study Tour to NPS
.Led by Environment Minister Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, senior officials from Iceland's Ministry of Environment and national parks met with NPS headquarters officials, as well as staff at Rock Creek and Yosemite National Parks. The visit was part of a recently initiated program of cooperation between NPS and Icelandic National Parks, supported by the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik. NPS program managers in interpretation, park planning, risk management, concessions, commercial services, partnerships, and training and development provided briefings and engaged in discussions with the Icelanders. Participants gained a better understanding of each countries’ national parks and current issues, laying the groundwork for future cooperation. Iceland’s national parks face enormous challenges. Lacking adequate infrastructure and staff, managers have been struggling with a massive increase in visitation over the last five years. Icelandic parks are managed separately and the Ministry is considering creating a national park system. At this critical moment, NPS has an opportunity to help Iceland better protect its parks, while gaining insights into protecting those in the U.S.

NPS contact: Linda Bennett
A representative from the NPS participates in a question and answer session.
Phyllis Ellin participates in a question and answer session at a World Heritage meeting.

NPS Image.

Global - International Cooperation on World Heritage Nominations

In September, NPS historian Phyllis Ellin participated in a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, to support transboundary World Heritage efforts. There, she spoke at a symposium on World Heritage nominations that focus on the works of architects. The symposium, which was an extension of the annual meeting of the sites that comprise the World Heritage listing for The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, included information about sites both on the World Heritage List (such as works of Antoni Gaudí and Victor Horta) and those such as buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright that are planning nominations. The U.S. plans to resubmit a nomination for eight works by Wright next year.

Ann Hitchcock stands with an NPS ranger at the exhibit.
Ann Hitchcok stands with an NPS ranger at the museum exhibit.

NPS Image.

North America - Canadian Museum Highlights Natural Heritage in the U.S.

The Biosphere, Environment Museum in Montreal, Canada, opened a photo exhibit, Lands of Inspiration--Years of Conservation and Enjoyment, featuring U.S. national parks and celebrating the dawn of the second century of the National Park Service. The museum, part of the Canadian Ministry of Environment, has dedicated permanent exhibit space to the natural heritage of the United States and this exhibit inaugurates that space. The U.S. Consulate General in Montreal and The Biosphere, Environment Museum, approached NPS about doing a photo exhibit that would be smaller than but similar to the NPS Centennial Exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (201617). The museum is located within the geodesic dome that Buckminster Fuller designed for the U.S. pavilion at Expo 67. NPS officials were on hand to help with the opening of the exhibit.

NPS Contact:Ann Hitchcok
A display at the King Center's International Expo.
A ranger with a visitor at the King's Center International Expo.

NPS Image.

Global - MLK National Historical Park Participates in King Center International Expo

August 25, 2018 was special to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park (MALU) in many ways - it was the 102nd anniversary of the founding of the National Park Service and the 55th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” Speech. It was also an opportunity for the NPS to join the King Center in celebrating Dr. King’s Dream of an international community, by highlighting the important work that Park Rangers around the world perform. The King Center’s International Beloved Community International Expo worked with the park on special activities, including a ‘kids’ corner’ that featured a Junior Ranger station, and an opportunity for children to learn about the work Rangers do throughout the world. NPS International Affairs provided samples of brochures from parks around the world.

NPS Contact:
Rebecca Karcher

Last updated: October 12, 2018

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