As part of the centennial summer celebration, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation offered Park Exchange series of special events designed to bring parks to life in urban areas and demonstrate the diversity of park experiences. The three-part series was part of the #FindYourPark / #EncuentraTuParque movement to build public engagement with national parks during the National Park Service's 2016 centennial celebration. Each of the Park Exchange events brought a national park to new communities in unexpected ways through creative expressions of the parks themselves, and helped introduce the National Park Service to new audiences.
Redwood National and State Parks visit Austin, Texas
The first event on May 3 brought Redwood National and State Parks to the University of Texas at Austin campus by projecting interactive images of redwood trees on the UT Texas Tower. Coast redwoods can grow as tall at 380 feet, making the 307-foot tall UT Texas tower a great venue to convey the grandeur and enormity of the trees in a creative and interactive way.
Rangers from Redwood National and State Parks were joined by staff from Lyndon B. Johnson NHP and San Antonio Missions NHP to answer questions about the redwoods, the National Park Service, and nearby sites. Hundreds of students seized the opportunity to transform and project their silhouettes into the shape of a redwood during the evening event. Projections were shared via social media by the NPS, NPF, parks, the University of Texas, former World No. 1 professional tennis player Andy Roddick, UT students, and the public using the #FindYourPark hashtag. Humana, Coca Cola, and Coleman, three of the Find Your Park corporate sponsors, also participated in the day's activities. More information.
New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park visits Chicago
On June 11, the second exchange in the series brought the musical experience of New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park to Chicago -- swinging from one musically rich city to another by offering a traditional a New Orleans second line. The heart of a second line is its ability to unite communities and encourage them to join the festivities, and it offered a unique opportunity for the Southside neighborhood of Chicago to experience the culture celebrated at a national park in Louisiana.
Oscar and Grammy winning artist Common served as Honorary Grand Marshall for the Park Exchange celebration and made remarks to kick off the second line celebration through Washington Park, which featured New Orleans's Treme Brass Band and Black Men of Labor and the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. The event also featured interactive stations in Washington Park with park rangers from New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park and Pullman National Monument and local partner organizations.
Thomas Edison National Historical Park visits New York City
On August 22 – during the National Park Service's birthday week – the Park Exchange event series culminated in New York City, taking the innovation from Thomas Edison National Historical Park in a small New Jersey town, to the iconic big city skyline! Across the river from Manhattan at Brooklyn Bridge Park, a day of free family-friendly activities explored the concept of innovation and 100 years of national parks. National parks across the country joined the celebration through a Virtual Park Circuit, a special social media presentation. In the evening, Edison's innovative spirit was illuminated as participants controlled the color of the One World Trade Center spire for the first time ever by working together to solve interactive, collaborative puzzles on a giant digital circuit board, lighting the way as the National Park Service enters its second century of service! More information.
Last updated: August 30, 2016