International Activities Update, April - June, 2018

Participants gather for a picture after the One Health Workshop.
Participants from the One Health Workshop.

Image by NPS.

Asia - One Health Workshop Welcomes Participants from Asia

Fort Collins, Colorado was the site of a Joint International Workshop on “Wildlife Diseases and One Health: Optimizing Outcomes for Wildlife, Domestic Animals and Humans.” The conveners were the USGS National Wildlife Health Center and the Korean National Institute of Environmental Research. Senior wildlife specialists from the NPS, FWS and other U.S. Government agencies attended, gave presentations on wildlife and one health topics in their agencies and had an opportunity to engage and share lessons learned with colleagues from the Korean CDC, Korea’s Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency, Japan’s National Institute for Environmental Studies and China’s Academy of Sciences. Meeting participants discussed collaborative opportunities in the future, especially for joint training and research.

NPS Contact: Danielle Buttke
The two park superintendents shake hands at the signing ceremony.
The Catoctin superintendent took the superintendent from Schwarzwald on a visit to Gettysburg.

NPS image.

Europe - Catoctin Establishes Sister Park with Germany's Schwarzwald

Thanks to the support of the U.S. Consul General in Frankfurt, Germany, NPS’s Catoctin Mountain Park and Germany’s Schwarzwald National Park have established a sister park arrangement. The two parks look forward to a valuable exchange of best practices, especially as Catoctin can share its 60 years of management experience with Schwarzwald – German for ‘Black Forest’ – which was created in 2014, making Catoctin’s expertise invaluable for the nascent German park. Currently, Catoctin is helping Black Forest solidify its identity and advising on ways the park can improve its visitor experience, like adding trail signs. The partnership between Catoctin and Black Forest is helped by their similar histories. Both parks consist of secondary growth forests, a product of intensive harvesting of the older forests.
NPS Contact: Rick Slade
Participants from the conference stand for a group picture.
The conference participants.

NPS image.

Europe - NPS Parks Share Lessons Learned with Polish Counterparts

The U.S. Consul General in Kraków, Poland, requested the participation of staff from Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks in a conference and training with the National Parks of Poland focused on “21st Century Tourism and Visitor Use Management,” held April 18-20, 2018 in Stryswzawa, Poland. The conference was held under the honorary patronage of the Polish Minister of the Environment and the Polish Director of State Forests. It followed a series of symposia organized on World Earth Day by the US Consulate in Kraków, in cooperation with Polish National Parks. Many national parks and protected areas in Poland are confronted with growing and diversifying visitor use, straining the capacity of park administrations to protect biodiversity in the parks and other protected areas.

NPS Contact: Dana Soehn

IVIP Guarvav Thayl with students from a local school.
Indian volunteer Guarav Thayl teaches a local school group about the environment.

NPS image.

Global - Indian Volunteer Helps Visitors at Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Guarav Thayl, an international volunteer-in-parks (IVIP) from India, just completed a 1-year internship at Golden Gate National Recreation Area. “Being an education intern has had a huge impact on me, and has really helped me grow as a leader, professional, educator, and a person,” he said. Guarav had a natural ability to work with children and eagerly shared the natural world with them. He developed innovative environmental education programs and was a welcome addition to the staff at Marin Headlands, who appreciated his enthusiasm and hard work. Gaurav’s experiences in the park inspired him to pursue a teaching degree in biology. He was impressed by NPS’s emphasis on accessibility and diversity in its programs since it is uncommon in India and intends to introduce those elements when he becomes an educator there. IVIP’s, like Gaurav, bring new ideas and practices home that can have a positive effect in their countries.

Each year, the NPS Office of International Affairs coordinates over 100
international volunteer programs like Aude’s with U.S. national parks and NPS offices.

NPS Contact: Linda Bennett

Staff from Parks Canada stand on the roof of the Main Interior building in Washington, DC.
Staff from Parks Canada stand on the roof of the Main Interior building.

NPS image.

North America - NPS Hosts Parks Canada

The Office of International Affairs organized meetings between NPS Washington Office program leads and a four-person Parks Canada delegation led by Jason Bouzanis, the agency’s Director of Communications. The meetings provided an opportunity for exchanging information and lessons learned between leaders and staff of both agencies, which are among the most similar in terms of mission, and organization of any protected areas agencies around the world. NPS program leaders for Tourism, Interpretation and Education, Park Planning, Communications, Outdoor Recreation, Emergency Services and Diversity and Inclusion were among those who met the Canadian group. With support from the Canadian Embassy in Washington, the meetings took place for the third consecutive year and helped boost the long-standing and ongoing cooperation with our neighbors to the north.
NPS Contact: Jon Putnam
Members of the Diablos fire crew team stand for a group photo.
Members of the Los Diablos fire crew stand and kneel for a group photo.

US Embassy photo.

North American - Big Bend Recruits Next Generation of Transboundary Fire Fighters
.Los Diablos,” the international wildland fire crew sponsored by Big Bend National Park, is recording the next chapter in an already notable history of emergency assistance to the United States. Given the remote nature of Big Bend National Park, with lengthy distances and time required for U.S.-based fire crews to respond to calls, the park looked to its southern neighbor to assist. Starting in 1990, men from Boquillas, Mexico were recruited to work as wildland firefighters. Limited at first to fighting fires within Big Bend, the program was expanded in 1999, when agreements were signed that allowed these crews to work across the nation. Now, after 28 years and working in 18 fire prone states and U.S. territories, engaging fires and providing valuable assistance on controlled burns or hurricane response, the most senior men are ready to hang up their fire helmets. Some would have retired several years earlier, but they have been critically needed in recent years to maintain a full crew of twenty firefighters. Responding to the need for a new generation of firefighters for Los Diablos, young Mexican nationals, including eight men and the first woman, have volunteered for the fire training school that was held at Big Bend earlier this spring. They will join Los Diablos this fire season, replacing or assisting their fathers, uncles and brothers, continuing a tradition of hard work and international cooperation.

NPS contact: Jonathan Putnam

These are among the most outstanding examples of ongoing international engagement by the NPS. Follow us on Facebook for updates on these and many other NPS international activities.

Last updated: July 23, 2018

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