NPS International Activities Update, January - June, 2022

A collection of images of OIA coordinated events that occurred from January - June, 2022.
A collection of images from events that took place from January - June, 2021 with the NPS Office of International Affairs.

NPS photos.

Welcome to the U.S. National Park Service’s (NPS) International Program bulletin, a periodical newsletter sharing summaries of notable international activities by the staff of the NPS during January - June, 2022.

Since the beginning of this year, the NPS has monitored the changing conditions of the global pandemic to adapt a hybrid of virtual and in-person programs of international conservation engagement. Following are brief notes about ongoing cooperation between NPS staff and international counterparts between January and June of 2022.

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Sharing about the Frank Lloyd Wright World Heritage Site Nomination
One of OIA’s major responsibilities as the staff office for the US World Heritage program is to guide and oversee the development of World Heritage nominations of US sites to the UNESCO World Heritage List. In late June, NPS consultant Phyllis Ellin (at right) spoke about the experience of getting "The 20th Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright" placed on the World Heritage List, at the annual meeting of the International Council of Monuments and Sites' International Committee on 20th Century Heritage, held in Porto, Portugal.

The Committee had requested that Phyllis participate in a panel discussing "serial" (multi-property) nominations of the works of modern designers. The other participants in the panel discussed the nominations for "The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier" and "The Works of Jože Plecnik in Ljubljana." There is continuing global interest in such nominations, and the successful listing of eight works by American architect Wright in six states in 2019 at-tracted considerable attention.

For more information: Stephen Morris
A webinar image of a group of US and Australian superintendents.
US NPS and Australia Parks Victoria superintendents during the roundtable webinar.

Image by NPS OIA.

International Park Managers Roundtable with Australia’s Parks Victoria

Over the past year, national park and protected area managers from the US and Australia have been meeting virtually every other month for a facilitated dialogue aimed at enhancing peer-to-peer learning and exchange. On the alternate months they've interacted in pairs on their own.

Dubbed the International Park Managers Roundtable and modeled on the National Park Service's successful Superintendents Leader-ship Roundtable, the forum brings together a half-dozen US NPS Superintendents and their counterparts from Parks Victoria in Australia for discussions on a range of issues and challeng-es confronting them in both countries. Despite being located half-way around the world from each other and in different organizations, there are many points of overlap leading to fruitful interaction. Initiated in summer 2021 as a pilot effort during the Covid pandemic, the Roundtable will soon begin a second year. Both the NPS Office of International Affairs and the NPS's Stewardship Institute at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park have provided support on the US side.

NPS Contact: Stephen Morris

Leaders from Palau gather for the signing ceremony.
Leaders from Palau stand ready to sign the document.

NPS image.

NPS and Palau Sign Memorandum of Understanding

In April 2022, at the Our Ocean conference in Palau, NPS and the Government of Palau signed a Memorandum of Understanding establishing a partnership through which the Denver Service Center (DSC) of the NPS will assist Palau with managing their protected area network and planning for future visitor use. The NPS Office of International Affairs will offer support to the DSC.

The project will consist of both a marine and a terrestrial site for initial planning, with the NPS and Palauan team working together to develop a decision-making framework for both areas. They will then work with the new framework to apply the information to make future decisions related to tourism and sustainable visitor use.

For more iinformation: Jonathan Putnam

Former NPS Director Robert Stanton (r) waits to give his presentation.
Former NPS Director Robert Stanton (r) answers questions from the participants.

Image by Steve Shakleton.

National Parks as Instruments of Public Diplomacy

The National Parks Institute at the University of California-Merced convened its 5th Executive Leadership Seminar, which brings together park and protected area leaders from around the world for a 10-day intensive management seminar on leadership, innovation, and organizational renewal. The course begins at the Institute at the Golden Gate, continues to University of California, Merced, and ends in Yosemite National Park. Special guest speakers this year included former U.S. National Park Service Director Robert Stanton (1997-2001) and Professor Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, and research professor of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Recalling his support for and participation in the international activities of the NPS during his tenure, Director Stanton engaged in a discussion about the role of national parks as instruments of diplomacy with Professor Gandhi. At his request, our Office provided Director Stanton with information pertaining to the establishment of our office 60 years ago, the NPS role behind the formation of the World Parks Congress in 1962, and the many international missions in support of public diplomacy that the NPS has accomplished with the U.S. Department of State and USAID.

Contact: Steve Shakleton

Georgian Park Officials Visit NPS Units in Alaska and North Carolina

The Open World Program of the Congressional Office for International Leadership and the NPS Office of Internation-al Affairs (OIA) coordinated the visit of two international park delegations from the nation of Georgia. This marks a rare collaboration between the U.S. Legislative and Executive Branches in support of international conservation en-gagement.

Working with the Department’s International Technical Assistance Program, OIA arranged with Open World to host the two Georgian delegations, one focused on national park management that visited Denali and Kenai National Parks as well as the BLM’s Campbell Creek Science Center in Alaska, as well as the NPS and BLM Region-al Offices, and another delegation that traveled to North Carolina to learn about volunteer management in protected areas at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site and Pisgah National For-est (managed by the U.S. Forest Service).

NPS Contact: Rudy D'Alessandro

Acting Chief Executive of  the National Parks and Wildlife Service of New South  Wales in Australia, Atticus Fleming, answers a question during a meeting.
Acting Chief Executive of  the National Parks and Wildlife Service of New South  Wales in Australia, Atticus Fleming, answers a question during a meeting with NPS headquarters staff.

Image by NPS OIA.

NPS Hosts New South Wales (Australia) Parks Leader

As international travel resumes, OIA hosted a visit in Washington by Atticus Fleming, Acting Chief Executive of the National Parks and Wildlife Service of New South Wales in Australia. We arranged meetings for Mr. Fleming with NPS leaders and subject matter experts in fire management, infrastructure investment, climate change adaptation, threatened species management and several other areas of common interest, including co-management with indigenous nations of protected areas.

Fleming also shared with us the challenges faced by protected area managers in New South Wales, including annual cat predation of one billion native animals and recent megafires that have consumed millions of acres of parkland, as well as some of the successes in efforts to restore habitat for koalas

NPS Contact: Stephen Morris

A screen shot of the Invasive Plants webinar showing the Israeli presenter.
A screen shot of the Invasive Plants webinar with the Israel presenter showing areas within Israel that have high concentrations of invasive plants.

Image by NPS OIA.

NPS Webinar on Control of Invasive Plant Species

In April, OIA organized a webinar on Control of Invasive Plant Species, which attracted sixty-five parks officials from 20 different countries. To gather a wide range of approaches and solutions to control of invasive plants, the invited speakers from Israel's Nature and Park Authority, South African National Parks, and the NPS gave case study presentations.

Each speaker provided an introduction about what invasive plants they are dealing with and what successes and failures they had had in controlling them. The interest in topics of this kind is very high and participants suggested that OIA put together a similar webinar on Control of Invasive Animals in National Parks and Protected Areas which is scheduled for Thursday, August 25 at 0900 EST.

NPS Contact: David Krewson

Greece Requests Webinar for Law Enforcement Rangers

In May, NPS coordinated a webinar focusing on Law Enforcement (LE) rangers for Greek national park and protected area staff. Kristen Lloyd, an NPS LE Special-ist in the Washington Office, gave a presentation enti-tled, “Observation, Conservation and Law Enforcement Approaches in Protected Areas.” Over 100 Greek rangers joined the program asking many questions and conveying the LE challenges that they are facing. It was clear that the topic resonated with them and that future in-depth discussions would be helpful.

The US Embassy in Athens contacted NPS OIA at the request of the Greek National Environmental Climate Change Agency last September. The newly created agency is reorganizing national parks in the country and is seeking assistance from the NPS to profession-alize its staff and formulate policies. The LE webinar was the first activity organized by the NPS and the Greeks. They have indicated that they would like to continue engaging with NPS in the near future.

NPS Contact: Linda Bennett

A green and white poster celebrating German and US acknowledgement of Earth Day 2022.
The poster for the German/US Earth Day celebration.

Image by NPS.

German and U.S. Park Rangers Celebrate Earth Day 2022

On Earth Day 2022, German and American rangers joined in a livestreamed event supported by the U.S. Embassy in Berlin and several U.S. Consulates. OIA helped recruit NPS rangers from Catoctin, Knife River Villages and Grand Te-ton national parks. They were joined by rangers from Ger-many’s Berchtesgaden, Eifel and Lower Saxony Wadden Sea national parks.

Each of the park rangers had produced short videos about their home parks for a short film that preceded the live Earth Day event. During this “One Earth - One Passion” event, the rangers shared their story of why they became park rangers and what they love about their work. Professor Eick von Ruschkowski, Director of the Alfred Toepfer Acad-emy for Nature Conservation, and a long-time partner of the NPS, served as moderator of the event. Dr. Ruschkowski subsequently co-organized a bilateral workshop on transat-lantic perspectives on conservation and wildlife manage-ment with NPS’s Tom Fish, National CESU Network Coordi-nator , at Yellowstone National Park.

NPS Contact: Linda Bennett
Mexican International Volunteer Erwin Lopezsorio stands in a forest clearing.
Mexican International Volunteer Erwin Lopezsorio.

Image by NPS.

Mexican Volunteer Supports Bandelier National Monument

Erwin Lopezsorio, from Mexico, arrived at Bandelier Na-tional Monument in early May. His internship is coordinat-ed through the NPS International Volunteer-in-Parks (IVIP) Program and with the Fish and Feathers Diversity Pro-gram. Erwin has a master’s degree in Natural Resources Conservation, with a specialization in ornithology. He has been very active in promoting bird conservation in his community in Mexico.

During his program, Erwin is conducting bird banding for the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) program. In September, he will take part in out-reach activities teaching school children about migratory birds and involving them in banding field projects at Ban-delier. Erwin is extremely excited to be protecting the same species that over winter in the Mexican state of Oa-xaca in their summer habitat at Bandelier.

NPS Contact: Linda Bennett
Chilean International Volunteer Josefina Polhammer sits on a mule.
Chilean International Volunteer Josefina Polhammer sits on one of the mules that pulls the C & O canal boats.

Image by NPS.

Chilean Volunteer Supports C&O Canal National Historical Park

Another IVIP program participant, Josefina Polhammer, from Chile, has been volunteering at Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park in Maryland since May. As a recent graduate with a degree in history, she is enjoying working there and learning about the park’s inter-pretative program.

Josefina is assigned to the Canal Boat team, and is learning how to give guided walks for visitors and taking care of the mules. Josefina is a great fit for her position since she has been a guide in the Palace of Justice in Santiago. She will spend 4 months assisting park staff.

NPS Contact: Linda Bennett
The front cover of the 1962 IUCN Newsletter.
The 1962 issue of the IUCN Bulletin.

Image by NPS.

Celebrating 60 Years of International Engagement

NPS Office of International Affairs Turns 60!

Sixty years ago this month, the U.S. hosted the ‘First World Conference on National Parks’ - the first of now six World Parks Congresses - in Seattle, WA. It was at this conference that then-U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Stewart Udall, announced the creation of the NPS's Office of International Affairs (OIA)! Sixty years later, OIA and the NPS international mission are featured in the latest edition of NPS Park Science magazine and in a podcast.

For more information, contact Jonathan Putnam.

Last updated: August 5, 2022