National Park Week is an annual Presidentially proclaimed week for celebration and recognition of your National Parks. National Park Week usually coincides with Earth Day (April 22). For 2011, National Park Week was observed from Saturday, April 16 through Sunday, April 24.
Your National Parks are living examples of the best this nation has to offer—our magnificent natural landscapes and our varied yet interrelated heritage. Parks can provide recreational experiences, opportunities to learn and grow, and places of quiet refuge.
This year, take a moment, an hour, a day to visit the national parks near you.
Below is a listing of events that were held at Point Reyes National Seashore during or in conjunction with Earth Day, National Park Week, and National Volunteer Week.
On Friday, April 22, 2011, the public was invited to a free lecture entitled "Tracking Climate Change from Antarctica to Point Reyes." Jason Flesher, Point Reyes National Seashore Association's Field Seminars director, shared stunning photos and stories from his trip guiding a climate change expedition to Antarctica during the month of March with the group 2041. Dr. Ben Becker, marine ecologist at Point Reyes National Seashore, shared how climate change is impacting Point Reyes and the innovative programs the NPS is implementing to protect our park. Visitors were invited to come learn about how climate change is affecting the ecosystems of Antarctica and Point Reyes. The event was held at the Red Barn Classroom at 6:30 p.m.
On Saturday, April 23, 2011, many community organizations around West Marin county invited their members and the public to join one (or more) of several activities to commemorate Earth Day and to build greater community resilience. The series of events began with a welcome/introduction-to-events-offered ceremony at 10:00 a.m. at the Bear Valley Picnic Area. Afterwards, visitors were able to join in a variety of work parties and/or programs throughout Point Reyes National Seashore and West Marin (see below for details). And then after the work parties, work party participants were invited to a Community Celebration at Toby's Feed Barn in Point Reyes Station at 5 p.m.
Within the park, the public was invited to join in the following events.
Weed Watchers Bear Valley Trail Stewardship
Visitors were able to join the Point Reyes Weed Watchers for a day of stewardship on the Bear Valley trail towards Arch Rock! Participants learned about local native plants, and pulled invasive weeds to protect this beautiful natural area. Weed Watchers patrol national park trails in San Mateo, San Francisco, and Marin Counties, detecting, mapping and removing weeds as they first invade. Participants were able to deepen their understanding of the natural world while playing an important role in the protection of unique wild habitat.
For more information about Weed Watchers call Eric Wrubel at 415-331-5023 or email. Or visit our website at: www.weedwatcher.org.
Science on a Sphere
11 a.m.–12 p.m. (noon)
Visitors were invited to join a National Park Service ranger in the Visitor Center's auditorium to get a perspective of planet Earth that once was available only to astronauts. Science on a Sphere®* gives a view of the Earth and the forces that shape life on our planet. We use the Science on a Sphere® to illustrate various models from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other scientists, such as atmospheric warming, ocean acidification, sea level rise, and other potential effects of climate change. If you have questions, contact the Bear Valley Visitor Center at 415-464-5100 x2 x5.
Community in Song
11 a.m.–12 p.m. (noon)
Harmony Grisman led participants with songs to touch our hearts. "Simple melodies, intertwined with luscious harmonies, drawing us together in gentle comfort and inspiration. Harmony helps invoke a full range of emotions."
12 p.m. (noon)–1 p.m.
Participants were invited to bring picnic lunch and share their love for our planet with others at the reserved Picnic Area.
Envisioning Miwok Living
1 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
Visitors were invited to visit the past at Kule Loklo. Edward Willie provided insights into the Coast Miwok people who often lived in their villages for hundreds of years. As we contemplate their existence here, we may learn their approaches to life and land, which sustained them for thousands of years. Marin's earliest caretakers can continue to teach us.
Accessing Innate Intelligence
1 p.m.–2 p.m.
Polla Pratt introduced participants to innate intelligence and deep caring as a way of accessing that which is hardwired into us. "By nature, caring establishes connections and opens communication in a trusting way. Caring breeds creativity, spontaneous healing and transformational collaborations. It is essential for our survival."
On Shaky Ground
2 p.m.–3 p.m.
Visitors were invited to join a National Park Service ranger for a 1 hour guided tour on the Earthquake Trail. Dare to tread the San Andreas Fault where the earth's crust shifted and moved about 5 meters (16 feet) in 1906! If you have questions, contact the Bear Valley Visitor Center at 415-464-5100 x2 x5.
The Way of Tracking
2:30 p.m.–4 p.m.
Richard Vacha offered an introduction to tracking as derived from traditional food gathering techniques. "Tracking is about bringing the world to light. It's about reanimating the world so that we're not just blind tourists out on a hike, moving fast through it, loving it all and thinking it's beautiful, but not really knowing what's going on there."
Afterwards, work party participants were invited to reconvene at Toby's Feedbarn in Point Reyes Station starting at 5:00 p.m. where community members celebrated our local resilience and the accomplishments of the day. Speakers included Marin County Supervisor Steve Kinsey. Tim Weed and his band performed.
If visitors weren't able to make it to the park until Sunday, April 24, they were able to join the Habitat Restoration Program's workday. Volunteers help protect and restore endangered plant and wildlife habitat at Abbott's Lagoon, the Lighthouse Bluffs and other high value habitat areas at Point Reyes National Seashore. They get to visit some of the most beautiful areas in the park and help eradicate invasive plant species encroaching upon rare, native habitat. They also learn about invasive plant ecology and the flora and fauna of Point Reyes National Seashore. HRP, the "Sunday Team," meets in front of the Bear Valley Visitor Center at 9:00 a.m. on the second and last Sunday of each month. Drop-ins are welcome. Bring lunch, water, sturdy shoes, sunscreen/hat, and other seasonally appropriate clothing. Gloves and tools are provided. Contact Ellen Hamingson at 415-464-5196 or by email for more information.
* Science On a Sphere (SOS)® is a room sized, global display system that uses computers and video projectors to display planetary data onto a six foot diameter sphere, analogous to a giant animated globe. Researchers at NOAA developed SOS® as an educational tool to help illustrate Earth System science to people of all ages. Animated images of atmospheric storms, climate change, and ocean temperature can be shown on the sphere, which is used to explain complex environmental processes in a way that is simultaneously intuitive and captivating.
(415) 464-5100 This number will initially be answered by an automated attendant, from which one can opt to access a name directory, listen to recorded information about the park (i.e., directions to the park; visitor center hours of operation; weather forecast; fire danger information; shuttle bus system status; wildlife updates; ranger-led programs; seasonal events; etc.), or speak with a ranger. Please note that if you are calling between 4:30 pm and 10 am, park staff may not be available to answer your call.