NPS International Activities Update, July - December, 2022

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 July - December, 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 July and December of 2022.

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The Indigenous-Government Partnerships delegates gather for a group photo.
The Indigenous-Government Partnerships delegates gather for a group photo.

Image by NPS.

U.S.-Chile Workshop Convened on Indigenous-Government Partnerships in Protected Area Management
Last September, the NPS helped organize a workshop on improving relationships between government agencies and indigenous communities, held in Port Angeles, Washington, just outside Olympic National Park. Hosted by the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe, the workshop brought together 55 indigenous and government agency representatives from the U.S., Chile, Canada, and Mexico, who shared experiences and ideas for advancing co-stewardship of marine, coastal and terrestrial protected areas. Other key partners included the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the George Wright Society and the State Department (which provided most of the funding).

For more information:Jonathan Putnam
An interior view of Mammoth Cave.
One of the many rooms within Mammoth Cave showing the spectacular cave formations.

Image by NPS/Jackie Wheet.

World Heritage Periodic Reporting for North America

The Third Cycle of Periodic Reporting (which takes place every eight or so years) began in October 2022. The NPS Office of International Affairs will coordinate the submission of online reports for each of the 24 U.S. World Heritage Sites and a national summary report. This is a part of the World Heritage Committee’s monitoring effort to understand how well World Heritage Sites are being maintained and what kinds of issues may threaten their outstanding universal value. The report will be completed in summer 2023. For more information.

NPS Contact: Stephen Morris

A screenshot of the World Heritage webinar.
A screenshot of the webinar for World Heritage Site Managers.

Image by NPS.

World HeritageUSA and NPS Host U.S. World Heritage Site Managers Forum & 50th Anniversary Symposium

Senior officials, including National Park Service Director Sams, participated in an online World Heritage 50th Anniversary Symposium and accompanying Site Managers Forum in October, sponsored by the U.S. National Committee of ICOMOS (now called World Heritage USA) with the help of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. NPS managers including from Mesa Verde and Grand Canyon also gave presentations. OIA staff participated in several sessions.

For more iinformation: Jonathan Putnam

A mountain scene in Glacier National Park.
A beautiful scene of a valley within Glacier National Park.

Image by NPS.

Canada & U.S. Commemorate 50th Anniversary of World Heritage

Representatives of Yellowstone and Mesa Verde National Parks, the first U.S. sites inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1978, joined Canadian colleagues in a November commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of the World Heritage Convention. Canada and the U.S. have two jointly designated World Heritage Sites.

Contact: Jonathan Putnam
NPS Director Chuck Sams introduces himself to an Australian park official.
NPS Director Chuck Sams introduces himself to an Australian park official.

Image by NPS.

NPS Delegation Visits Australia’s New South Wales National Parks

At the invitation of the head of the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), a National Park Service delegation headed by Director Chuck Sams spent a week in Sydney and at national parks in the state of New South Wales, learning primarily about initiatives undertaken in recent years by the NPWS to pursue co-management arrangements with Aboriginal communities.

Despite the different legal framework in Australia, which allows a state government to interact directly with indigenous communities in a way that is reserved for the Federal government in the U.S., the delegation learned a great deal and was impressed with how far co-management has progressed there. Throughout the visit, the delegation was received with great warmth and hospitality, a testament to the importance placed on hosting officials from the National Park Service, including the first Native American Director. Director Sam’s visit helped NPWS leaders highlight the efforts underway in New South Wales to expand initiatives on comanagement with Australian Aboriginal peoples.

NPS Contact: Stephen Morris

A screen shot of the World Ranger Day event on the Internet.
A screen shot of the World Ranger Day event on the Internet.

Image by South African National Parks.

South Africa and NPS Commemorate World Ranger Day

To promote and honor World Ranger Day, NPS Associate Director for Visitor and Resource Protection Jennifer Flynn recorded a video in support of World Ranger Day that the NPS Office of International Affairs arranged with the South African National Parks (SANParks) Honorary Rangers organization to be shown at SANParks events, along with videos from rangers around the world.

The Honorary Rangers are similar to the NPS Volunteers-in-Parks (VIP) program and work to support SANParks through volunteer projects and fund-raising. Associate Director Flynn spoke about the history of U.S. national park rangers and how the USNPS supports the ideals of World Ranger Day, which is held annually on July 31st to honor and acknowledge the courage and tenacity of rangers world-wide, who risk their lives daily to protect wildlife, natural and cultural sites.

NPS Contact: David Krewson

A screenshot of the North American Wilderness and
Protected Areas webinar.
A screenshot of the North American Wilderness and
Protected Areas webinar.

Image by NPS OIA.

North American Wilderness and Protected Areas Executive Committee Meets

In October, the Executive Committee of the North American Wilderness and Protected Areas (NAWPA) Committee met in Tucson, Arizona. NAWPA, which was established in 2009, brings together government conservation agencies from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to collaborate and learn from each other in a variety of topics related to protected area management.

The NPS currently serves as Chair of the Executive Committee and hosted the October meeting, which included a site visit to Saguaro National Park

NPS Contact: Jonathan Putnam

NPS Hosts Control of Invasive Animals in Protected Areas Webinar

In September, NPS hosted a webinar on Control of Invasive Animals in Protected Areas for an international audience of 80 participants from various U.S. government agencies and NGO's as well as staff from several park agencies in Georgia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, France, and South Africa. Joined by the NPS Invasive Animal Species Coordinator, Dr. Jennifer Sieracki and Sarah Funck, from Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, both speakers gave overviews on how both their agencies assess, manage, and then combat invasive animals.

Examples were provided on the control of feral hogs, feral cats, pythons, lizards, and even monkeys. Following 30- minute presentations by each speaker, many questions and comments were fielded from participants since this issue has become a major problem for many protected areas around the world.

NPS Contact: David Krewson

Glacier Bay Scientist Shares Cruise Tourism Best Practices

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve’s Senior Science Advisor Scott Gende participated with Wildlife Conservation Society Beringia-Arctic Program Director Martin Robards in the NatNorth Subcommittee Meeting on Cruise Ships Taking Land, which was held in Reykjavik, Iceland in September 2022. NatNorth is a collaboration between Nordic countries on sustainable tourism projects that encourage responsible nature experiences. An objective of the NatNorth Subcommittee meeting was to build a common understanding of the decision-making authority, regulatory environment, opportunities for bestpractices, and monitoring of cruise ship tourism at national parks, protected areas, and ports of concern in Greenland and Iceland.

During the meeting, representatives from West Norwegian Fjords and Glacier Bay – sister parks since 2019 - provided presentations on the suite of initiatives that increase the sustainability of cruise ship tourism at these sites, including regulations, concessions/marketbased tools, interpretation programs, and initiatives designed to capture revenue.

NPS Contact: Scott Gende
Sondrio Film Festival Announcement
This year's Sondrio Film Festival Announcement.

Image by the Sondrio Festival.

NPS Filmmaker Premieres Film about Tlingit at Sondrio Festival

Sarah Gulick, a filmmaker with the Harpers Ferry Center for Interpretative Design, represented the National Park Service at the 2022 Sondrio environmental film festival. Her film, ‘Healing Through The Waters,’ was accepted by the Sondrio Film Jury and screened during the festival. This NPS-produced film explores how determined Alaska Natives return to their homeland, now a national park, after their villages are destroyed by a glacier. Stunning footage accompanies testimonies of Huna Tlingit and the National Park Service to shed light on a decades-long journey of loss and recovery.

Sondrio Festival is a unique international film festival dedicated to nature films made in nature parks and protected areas worldwide and has been held annually every November since 1987 in Sondrio, Italy. Over the past three decades, festival organizers have extended an invitation to the NPS to participate on its film jury, as well as to submit our films for consideration in one of four categories.

NPS Contact: Sarah Gulick
A collection of photos from the Olympic Seminar
A collection of images from the Japan-U.S. Park Interpretation Training Seminar held in Olympic National Park.

Image by NPS.

Olympic Hosts Japan-U.S. Park Interpretation Training Seminar

Olympic National Park hosted our most recent seminar for Japanese park interpretation professionals, through our Japan-U.S. Interpretation Training Seminar. This seminar’s theme was Interpretation of Diverse Ecosystems and People from Mountains to Oceans. Japanese participation for this year’s seminar included two university professors, two former park rangers and the chief ranger of a commercial forest.

Staff at Olympic worked with NPS International Affairs to arrange meetings with site managers at several ranger stations, as well as with the Makah Tribal Historic Preservation Officer at the Makah Cultural and Research Center to learn about the history of anthropological research cooperation between NPS and the Makah tribe

NPS Contact: Rudy D'Alessandro
A map of the Baltic States.
A map of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, all countries that OIA has been working with.

Image by Wikipedia.

Baltics and NPS Discuss Volunteers-in-Parks Programs

In December, the NPS organized a webinar on volunteer programs with counterparts from the national parks and protected areas of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. Shari Orr, the NPS Servicewide Volunteer Manager, delivered a presentation about NPS’s Volunteer-in-Parks (VIP) program, followed by a presentation from her Estonian counterpart Kadri Aller. The program was one of an on-going series of webinars coordinated with the Baltic Environmental, Science, Technology and Health Office based in the U.S. Embassy in Vilnius over the past three years.

The Volunteers-in-Parks program webinar in December provided an interesting perspective on cultural attitudes toward volunteerism in the U.S. and the Baltic countries, as well as a comparison of the types of volunteer opportunities in the U.S. versus Estonia. The discussion following the presentations offered a fruitful exchange of ideas and knowledge sharing

For more information, contact: Linda Bennett

Last updated: January 24, 2023