The Future Face of Volunteering in Parks Event

November 10 Volunteer Event Flyer FINAL
The graphic is an announcement for a virtual event. Text on the graphic reads, "Stories of Service: Empowering Youth and Young Adults to Be the Future Face of Volunteering in National Parks." November 10, 2021, 4:00-5:30pm ET. Logos: NPS, NPS Volunteers-In-Parks Program, National Park Foundation.

NPS Photo

Event Details

Join us for the virtual event, “Stories of Service: Empowering Youth and Young Adults to Be the Future Face of Volunteering in Parks” on Wednesday, November 10 at 4:00pm EST. Co-hosted by the National Park Service Youth Programs Division and the National Park Service Volunteers-In-Parks Program in partnership with the National Park Foundation, learn how you can get involved with volunteering in our national parks. From helping to identify different flora and fauna, to participating in an invasive species removal cleanup, creating an Eagle Scout project or Gold Award project, joining a YMCA camp, or the nationwide Dragonfly Mercury Project, there are so many ways to work with your local national parks to preserve the natural, cultural, and historical aspects of our public lands. Hear from a diverse panel, including park staff and youth volunteers, a veteran, a Gold Award Girl Scout, an Eagle Scout, a YMCA camp leader, a Community Volunteer Ambassador, and the Ice Age Trail Alliance, as they share their personal experiences, and the impact these programs have had on them. A Q&A session will follow.

Follow the NPS Youth Programs Facebook page to watch the video recording. Scroll down to watch the video recording on the NPS YouTube channel, or click here.


Introduction and Moderator

  • Shari Orr, Servicewide Volunteer Program Manager, National Park Service


  • George McDonald, Chief, Youth Programs and Experienced Services Program Division, National Park Service
  • Sarah Unz, Director, Community Partnerships, National Park Foundation
  • Shari Orr, Servicewide Volunteer Program Manager, National Park Service
  • Keith Park, Horticulturist/Arborist, John Muir National Historic Site/Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site/Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial/Rosie the Riveter WWII Homefront National Historical Park, National Park Service

Panel Discussion

  • Natalie Kaminski, Gold Award Girl Scout, Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument, National Park Service
  • Tyler Rush, Eagle Scout, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, National Park Service
  • Daphne Short, Former Outdoor Education Student Conservation Association Intern and YMCA Camp Leader, Reconstruction Era National Historical Park, National Park Service
  • Luke Heilmann, Student Volunteer, Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, National Park Service
  • Luke Kloberdanz, Director of Philanthropy, Ice Age Trail Alliance
  • Keith June, Military Veteran and Volunteer, National Mall and Memorial Parks, National Park Service
  • Setareh Nouriboshehri, Community Volunteer Ambassador Leader, National Park Service

Q&A Session

Closing Remarks

Watch the Event Recording

Screenshot from the event - speakers and panelists
From left to right: Luke Kloberdanz (Ice Age Trail Alliance); Shari Orr (NPS); Keith Park (NPS); Keith June (NPS); Luke Heilmann (NPS); Natalie Kaminski (GSUSA); Daphne Short (YMCA/SCA); George McDonald (NPS); Setareh Nouriboshehri (NPS); Sarah Unz (National Park Foundation); Tyler Rush (BSA)

NPS Photo

In case you missed it, click here to read the event recap.

Have any questions? Please email us!

Additional Resources

Get involved with volunteering in parks:

Community Volunteer Ambassador Program:

Girl Scout Ranger Program:

Resource Stewardship Scout Ranger Program:

YMCA-NPS Summercamp Program:

Learn More About Our Participating Partners

National Park Service Youth Programs:

Volunteers-In-Parks Program:

National Park Foundation:

Ice Age Trail Alliance:

Conservation Legacy:

Girl Scouts of the USA:

Boy Scouts of America:

YMCA of the USA:

The Student Conservation Association:

Participant Bios

Shari Orr Bio Photo

Photo Courtesy of Shari Orr

Shari Orr has dedicated her career to developing volunteer-driven solutions to tackle tough community challenges. She currently manages the national Volunteers-In-Parks Program for the National Park Service. Each year, the National Park Service engages over 300,000 volunteers in over 400 national park sites. Prior to this role, Shari worked with AmeriCorps (formerly CNCS), the federal agency for service and volunteering. The agency engages nearly 300,000 Americans in service each year through AmeriCorps and also leads the September 11th and Martin Luther King Jr. Days of Service. Most recently, Shari served as the Senior Advisor to the CEO, where she was a principal advisor to senior leadership for operational, policy, and management issues, as well as external engagement and partnership opportunities.

Previously, Shari served in other public and private sector roles where she implemented volunteer and nonprofit programs, administered grants, managed communications, and developed resources for local communities. In addition, she served two years with the United States Peace Corps in Eswatini, implementing rural youth development initiatives. Shari earned a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Central Florida. Outside of work, she can typically be found outdoors. Her favorite hobbies include hiking, camping, and gardening.
George McDonald Bio Photo

Photo Courtesy of George McDonald

George McDonald currently serves as Chief of the National Park Service Youth Programs and Experienced Services Program Division for the National Park Service. In this role, George has led successful efforts to launch numerous programs designed to enhance and increase the number of underserved, minority and disadvantaged youth participating in park activities and engaging in employment and educational opportunities in parks. Significantly, he helped launch NPS’s Youth Intern Program in 2009 to provide youth and young adults an intellectually challenging experience and exposure to a range of NPS job opportunities.

George has partnered with numerous 21CSC organizations, helping to develop such programs as the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Internship in collaboration with the Greening Youth Foundation, the Latino Heritage Internship Program, and the Mosaics in Science Internship Program with Environment for the Americas. George has not only championed the 21CSC within NPS, but has taken time to write congressional responses and inform leaders across the Department of the Interior about the value of this initiative.
Sarah Unz Bio Photo

Photo Courtesy of Sarah Unz

Sarah Unz is the Director of Community Partnerships at the National Park Foundation. She works to build the constituency of park partners in an effort to further mobilize and engage partners in support of our National Parks. These organization include non-profit philanthropic park partners (or "Friends Groups"), volunteer groups, cooperating associations, service corps, and other park allies. The community of park partners foster deeper engagement between people and parks and share the common goal of enhancing America's national parks for present and future generations.

Sarah previously worked at the Chicago Park District managing the Outdoor and Environmental Education department, serving all 77 of Chicago's neighborhoods through programs and events designed to increase access and engagement with nature. She is a certified Park and Recreation Professional, holds a MS and MEd in Park Resources and Environmental Education from the University of Pennsylvania at Slippery Rock and a BS in Natural Resources from the University of Wisconsin.
Natalie Kaminki Bio Photo

Photo Courtesy of Natalie Kaminski

Natalie Kaminski is a high school Senior at Cincinnati Country Day School in Cincinnati, Ohio. She plans to study architecture in college next year. Recently, she completed her Gold Award, the highest achievement one can receive in Girl Scouts. Natalie’s Gold Award project aimed to restore the bat population at the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Wilberforce, Ohio. After months of planning, Natalie and her team built and installed four bat houses at the National Park. In total, the project took over one hundred hours.

Natalie has been an active member of Girl Scouts since a young age, having been a member of the same troop since Kindergarten (Troop 48832). While in elementary school, her troop achieved the Girl Scout Bronze Award where they made dog toys and treats for a local animal shelter. While in middle school, her troop switched gears and worked on their Girl Scout Silver Award. For this award, their focus was on serving the homeless. In her free time, Natalie enjoys playing golf, hanging out with friends, and spending time outdoors. She played varsity golf for her school all four years and was captain her senior year.
Setareh Nouriboshehri Bio Photo

Photo Courtesy of Setareh Nouriboshehri

Setareh Nouriboshehri has spent the last several years adventuring in, learning from, and working with the National Park Service. As a volunteer and intern, she grew a passion for the outdoors in serving alongside Cabrillo National Monument’s volunteer program by tending the historic Old Point Loma Lighthouse kitchen garden, removing non-native plant species, and engaging the public in the park’s cultural and natural resources.

Experiencing the benefits of volunteerism firsthand, Setareh joined the Community Volunteer Ambassador (CVA) program, a partner program between the National Park Service and Conservation Legacy, to build and maintain enduring relationships between Cabrillo National Monument and its local communities through volunteerism. As this year’s CVA Leader, Setareh peer-leads the 2021 CVA cohort of 60+ members and supports the servicewide Volunteers-In-Parks program. Setareh uses her volunteer and CVA experience to work towards the ideal that parks are for everyone to enjoy.
Luke Heilman Bio Photo

Photo Courtesy of Luke Heilmann

Luke Heilmann is a first-year student at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, where he majors in History. Luke joined the volunteer program at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site in Fall of 2019 as a Visitor Services volunteer. As a front desk volunteer, Luke would welcome and orient visitors to Hopewell by providing information, directions, maps, and ocassassionaly transportation into the park for those who needed it. Luke eventually became jointly involved with the Cultural Resources program, and its ongoing efforts to digitize historic account book ledgers for archival purposes.

Luke has also served in other capacities for special events. During Hopewell’s annual Fleece Cleaning Day, Luke served as a fireman. In this role, he stoked and tended to a fire that heated a cauldron of water to be used in the cleaning of the fleece. While COVID-19 and college have limited his opportunities for involvement, Luke hopes to continue to work with the wonderful and incredibly generous staff at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site.
Daphne Short Bio Photo

Photo Courtesy of Daphne Short

Daphne Short is currently a third-year environmental geoscience student at the University of Texas at El Paso. She spent this summer working in Beaufort, South Carolina with the YMCA and Reconstruction Era National Historical Park to bring national parks to underserved communities in the area. Over the summer, Daphne worked to inspire and build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship of the environment and communities by engaging young people through her position of Outdoor Education Intern with the Student Conservation Association. This involved hands-on projects, regular field trips through Reconstruction Era National Historical Park, and virtual programming with park rangers across the country.

Through the YMCA/NPS Summer Camp Program, Daphne connected over 150 students to federal lands, engaging them in the deep history that their town of Beaufort has through the service of the national park sites. Daphne’s experience working in and being a part of a Hispanic serving community gives her an appreciation for the many different types of people and the ways we can all make a unique impact in our own community. In her off time, she enjoys traveling with her dog and spending time with friends.
Tyler Rush Bio Photo

Photo Courtesy of Tyler Rush

Tyler Rush is currently a second-year student at the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City, Utah. He’s majoring in Kinesiology and Psychology. Tyler was a member of Boy Scout Troop 127, where he earned his rank of Eagle Scout. He grew up exploring the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, which is where he developed his love of rock climbing and hiking in the outdoors. He completed his project with the National Park Service at Paramount Ranch. There was an unfortunate delay when California’s Woolsey fire swept through and burned most of the town down. He was able to adjust the focus of the project, with the help of long-time NPS employee and volunteer Mike Malone, and restored parts of the town and entrance to the park that were untouched by the fire.

Tyler joined Pack 127 as a Cub Scout when he was 10 and continued through the Boy Scout program. He held many leadership roles in his troop, eventually serving as Senior Patrol Leader for a term, the highest position for a Scout. He volunteered for many hours on fellow Boy Scout’s projects in the Santa Monica’s and surrounding areas, before eventually planning and executing his own, earning his Eagle in the summer of 2019. He continues to volunteer with the NPS and various outdoor agencies in Salt Lake City.
Luke Kloberdanz Bio Photo Final

Photo Courtesy of Luke Kloberdanz

Luke Kloberdanz graduated with a BA in elementary education from the University of Northern Iowa and a MS in educational psychology from UW-Madison. He lives in Lodi with his wife Letha, sons Gus and Wynn, gnarly dog Hank, and a small flock of chickens. Luke’s involvement with the Ice Age Trail Alliance started with a volunteer chapter workday in 2001. This first experience of giving back to the Trail and working with passionate volunteers planted the seed for continued involvement with all things Ice Age Trail related. Luke’s early volunteer experiences include helping form the Alliance’s Lodi Valley Chapter; taking part in the initial Mobile Skills Crew training in 2002; through hiking the Trail in 2003; and serving in multiple volunteer capacities both on and off trail.

In 2013, joined the Alliance staff full-time as Outreach & Education Manager, Luke decided to utilize his considerable skills as a teacher towards getting kids out of the four walls of the classroom and into an experiential experience with nature. Luke shifted over to full time philanthropy work and now serves as the Director of Philanthropy where he helps individuals, corporations and foundations support the Alliance’s many volunteers as they work to create, support, and protect the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
Keith June Bio Photo 3

Photo Courtesy of Keith June

COL (RET) Keith June, USABS, University of South Carolina, hails from Bonneau, South Carolina. A 1986 graduate of the University of South Carolina, he was commissioned in the US Army Signal Corps in 1986. Keith spent over 30 years serving our nation in the Army. His military career took him around the world with assignments in Germany, Bosnia, Panama and multiple deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan Haiti, and Kuwait. He also served on the Joint Staff, the Army Staff and completed a special assignment with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). His notable assignments include Company command in the famed 82nd Airborne Division, Operations officer in the 82nd Signal Battalion, command of the 54th Signal Battalion, XVIIIth Airborne Corps G-6, and Senior Communications officer for NATO and US Forces in Afghanistan.

A Master rated parachutist, COL (RET) June was awarded 3 Bronze Stars and the Humanitarian Service Award for his service in Iraq, Afghanistan and Haiti. COL (RET) June is a graduate of the Army’s Command and General Staff College and the Army War College. He holds advanced degrees from George Washington University, Webster University, the Army War College, and the Army’s Command and General Staff College. A Soldier for life, a strong believer in the values of our nation, Keith is a firm believer in giving back to church, community and nation. Keith serves as the chair for the Veterans Advisory Council for the University of South Carolina, as a volunteer with the National Park Service at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (the Wall) at the National Mall and Memorial Parks, and as the Senior Warden at Immanuel Church on the Hill in Alexandria, Va.
Keith Park Bio Photo

Photo Courtesy of Keith Park

Keith Park is a horticulturist and an arborist based at John Muir National Historic Site and the Four East Bay Parks (Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site, Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial, Rosie the Riveter WWII Homefront National Historical Park, in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has worked for the NPS since 2009 in the same position, which also includes volunteer coordination and youth engagement. His specific focus for youth and VIP engagement is in our park's cultural landscapes, including work such as gardening and orchard care. He has supervised several BSA Eagle Scout projects at John Muir National Historic Site since 2019, as well as one Girl Scout Gold Award project. These projects range from: native garden installation; creek bank native plant revegetation; park furniture (picnic table) construction; and historic olive orchard pruning and restoration.

After graduating high school, he pursued a degree in biochemistry and psychology for several years but ultimately decided he needed an "outdoor" job, so he switched schools and degrees to study horticulture and landscape architecture. He was a professional gardener at a large public garden for 10 years prior to the NPS, and in that first job, he worked regularly with garden volunteers, which demonstrated to him the many values of engaging with the community in general. He lives near the John Muir NHS in Martinez, California, with his wife and daughter and their 1.5 cats.

Last updated: April 23, 2022