Advisory Board Creates National Park Service Centennial Advisory Committee

The National Park Service Centennial (2016) is an opportunity to celebrate the success of the national park idea and its growing value to society; to spotlight the vital, supporting work of NPS partners; to enhance constituency support; and to advance strategic actions for ongoing sustainability. To help prepare for the anniversary, the National Park System Advisory Board has created a National Park Service Centennial Advisory Committee. The purpose of the committee is to offer guidance and recommendations to the Advisory Board and the NPS on centennial strategies and products, and to serve as ambassadors to the broader community of NPS partners and stakeholders. Committee members include key NPS allies and advocates, such as park friends' groups, conservation and preservation organizations, concessioners, cooperating associations, youth programs, educators, the health industry, and other interests committed to the NPS mission. To see the Committee membership list, click here.


Advisory Board Instrumental in Helping Sesame Street Explore National Parks

National Park System Advisory Board member and chair of the Education Committee, Dr. Milton Chen--a former Sesame Street staffer and current board member--met with Sesame Street staff and helped initiate discussions with Sesame Street that ultimately led to development of a multimedia park experience for children ages three to five and their families and educators. Grand Canyon National Park initially had the idea to work with Sesame Street, leveraging the professional network of the Advisory Board Education Committee to make that dream a reality.

The NPS has just launched six short videos, featuring Muppets Elmo and Murray, and accompanying hands-on activites that introduce preschoolers to the natural world and encourage youngsters to get outside. Several members of the Advisory Board Education Committee reviewed content for the videos and educational materials. They provided guidance and expert advise, working closely with NPS Interpretation and Education staff to ensure that the materials were age-appropriate and accurate.

The Advisory Board Education Committee is comprised of experts in the fields of education, educational research, educational technology, and lifelong learning. This new relationship with Sesame Street highlights the power of strong partnerships, and how an idea can grow from the park to a national level program with the support of groups like the National Park System Advisory Board and the National Park Foundation. For further information, go to


Philanthropy and Partnerships Committee Issues Final Report

In late 2013, the NPS Director asked the Advisory Board to support the NPS in the revision of Director's Order #21, the principal policy document that guides donations and fundraising activities by the NPS and its partners. To help inform the Board's support, a new Philanthropy and Partnerships Committee was formed, composed of diverse leaders representing NPS partners, philanthropic supporters, and industry experts in partnerships and philanthropy. The commitee's report, Toward a New Era of Philanthropy and Partnerships, encourages the NPS to align itself with best practices in the philanthropic sector, coupled with new business behaviors initiated by both the NPS and its partners. The key recommendations offer the NPS a more current, consistent, responsive, and equitable policy guidance framework, and include the following:

* Redistribute greater partnering authorities to park and program managers and give NPS managers and partners more authority in the donor vetting process;

* Develop a branding strategy that supports the philanthropic work of the NPS and its partners;

* Design a consistent donor recognition framework for gifts given at the national and local levels;

* Provide NPS employees with appropriate guidance and training on how public-private partnerships in philanthropy enhance the NPS mission; and

* Ensure the NPS continually integrates current philanthropic sector best practices, using Federal agencies, such as the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress, as models.

Last updated: September 7, 2016