San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park Receives a “2014 America’s Best Idea Grant” and Launches Marine Science Education Program for High School Students

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News Release Date: November 4, 2014

Contact: Lynn Cullivan, 415-561-7006

Contact: Alanna Sobel, 201-354-6486

San Francisco, CA – San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park (NHP) is one of 39 national parks selected to receive a 2014 America’s Best Idea (ABI) grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks. This grant will help fund a new marine science underwater resource education program, created in partnership with Galileo Academy of Science and Technology, for 160 underserved high school students.

“Students are learning history and science through hands-on experiences while building research and processing skills that will help them in any career,” said Morgan Smith, San Francisco Maritime’s Chief of Interpretation and Visitor Services. This inquiry-based science and technology program gives the students involved a critical, competitive advantage.  

With ABI grant funding, the park was able to purchase an underwater remotely operated vehicle (UROV) and submersible camera. During multiple visits to the park, students will operate the UROV to study the park’s largely unexplored submerged resources and analyze environmental conditions. The analysis of students’ research – from the condition of the historic ships’ hulls to changes in biodiversity – will play a practical role in the ongoing work of park staff. At the same time, students will learn about the role of National Parks in their lives and become active participants in stewardship. 

Inspired by Ken Burns’ critically acclaimed documentary “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” the ABI grant program builds partnerships between national parks and community, state, and other public organizations, and engages diverse audiences in meaningful and relevant ways with national parks and inspires participants to become stewards of our National Park System. 

“The America’s Best Idea program connects people – particularly youth – to America’s national parks, often for the first time,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “Through meaningful and memorable in-park experiences that highlight the natural, cultural, and historical treasures in our National Park System, we are able to inspire the next generation of park-goers.”

“We want everyone to find themselves in a national park,” said Jonathan B. Jarvis, director of the National Park Service. “These National Park Foundation grants will help people acquire a better understanding of their national parks and, hopefully, of themselves, through place-based learning and recreational activities. Native Americans who will visit traditional homelands, budding scientists who will study environmental impacts, and students from Gallaudet University who will examine aspects of the Americans with Disabilities Act are among the many groups which will benefit from the grants.”  

The National Park Foundation wishes to thank The Ahmanson Foundation, Chapman Hanson Foundation, the Fernandez Pave the Way Foundation, and Subaru for their generous support of the America’s Best Idea program.

The 2014 America’s Best Idea grantees include:

Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area (KY, TN)

Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site (KS)

Bryce Canyon National Park (UT)

Canyon de Chelly National Monument (AZ)

Cape Cod National Seashore (MA)

Cape Lookout National Seashore (NC)

Congaree National Park (SC)

Denali National Park & Preserve (AK)

Everglades National Park (FL)

Flagstaff Area National Monuments (AZ)

George Washington Carver National Monument (MO)

Glacier National Park (MT)

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (AZ, UT)

Grand Teton National Park (WY)

Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve (CO)

Independence National Historical Park (PA)

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (MO)

Jimmy Carter National Historic Site (GA)

Katmai National Park and Preserve (AK)

Kobuk Valley National Park (AK)

Lincoln Home National Historic Site (IL)

Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove on the Potomac (VA)

Mississippi National River & Recreation Area (MN)

Moores Creek National Battlefield (NC)

Mount Rainier National Park (WA)

National Capital Region (DC)

Olympic National Park (WA)

Point Reyes National Seashore (CA)

President’s Park (White House) (DC)

Prince William Forest Park (VA)

Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park (CA)

Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway (WI, MN)

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park (CA)

Virgin Islands National Park (VI)

Weir Farm National Historic Site (CT)

Wilson's Creek National Battlefield (MO)

Yellowstone National Park (ID, MT, WY)

Yosemite National Park (CA)

Zion National Park (UT)

A listing of these parks and their America’s Best Idea project descriptions can be found on the National Park Foundation website.

For more information on the National Park Foundation and how you can support and protect America’s national parks, please visit www.nationalparks.org. For more information on the National Park Service, please visit www.nps.gov. 

ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.

ABOUT SAN FRANCISCO MARITIME NHP

San Francisco Maritime NHP is located at the west end of Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. The park includes a magnificent fleet of historic ships, Visitor Center, Maritime Museum, Maritime Research Center, and Aquatic Park Historic District. For more information about the park and its public programs, please call 415-447-5000 or visit nps.gov/safr and facebook.com/SanFranciscoMaritimeNHP.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION 

The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.


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Last updated: March 1, 2015

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