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Contact: Scott Babinowich, 601-619-2905
WASHINGTON -- As the National Park Service embarks on its second century of service, Vicksburg National Military Park is celebrating the significant accomplishments of its centennial celebration and engagement with the Find Your Park / Encuentra Tu Parque initiative. Superintendent Bill Justice invites the community of Vicksburg to celebrate and learn about the Centennial successes during our Winter Open House on January 13 and 14, 2017 at the visitor center. Light refreshments will be served from11:00 am until 2:00 pm. There will be opportunities to interact with park staff and to explore how Vicksburg NMP is preparing for a second century of service.
Throughout the National Park Service’s Centennial year, Vicksburg National Military Park was able to host over 1,000 students on field trips, most of who were 4th graders from the local Vicksburg-Warren School District. Students were led through curriculum-based programs to help understand the importance of the siege of Vicksburg, civilian life, and the aftermath of the Civil War. Each 4th grader earned an annual pass, allowing free entry for them and their families at all National Park Service sites nationwide.
Several keystone events were held throughout the year, including the 4th of July events and the 50th Anniversary of the Historic Preservation Act. The Memorial Day remembrance events included living history demonstrations, special presentations, and a concert featuring the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and the Jackson Mass Community Choir.
Vicksburg National Military Park was able to host Centennial Volunteer Ambassador Molly Cadwell for the second half of 2016. Ms. Cadwell built a robust volunteer program by recruiting and training new volunteers and hosting two successful community service events. In total, over 2,000 hours of service were volunteered at Vicksburg since June 2016.
Vicksburg National Military Park Superintendent Bill Justice added, “We’ve enjoyed celebrating the 100th birthday of the NPS with you. Now it is time to start the Service’s second century.
Vicksburg National Military Park Programs Contributed to Overall Success of the NPS Centennial
Across the country, centennial programs resulted in a significant level of public interest and social media engagement with the National Park Service and National Park Foundation. The NPS, NPF, and partners across nationwide reached hundreds of millions of people with the centennial’s Find Your Park message, and engaged the public in the NPS stewardship mission.
The Find Your Park campaign has resonated particularly well with younger audiences, which NPS and NPF targeted since they will be the next generation of national park visitors and stewards. Millennials are increasingly familiar with the Find Your Park campaign, and NPS youth programs were a key component of NPS and NPF centennial engagement.
“I like to say the NPS is the only federal agency with a mandate to ensure the public has fun, and the centennial has been a lot of fun,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “But more importantly, it has inspired and engaged a new generation to take on the mantle of responsibility for the most important places and stories that define us as citizens of the United States of America.”
Looking Ahead: Find Your Park in 2017 and Preparing for a Second Century of Service
Planning is underway to build on the success of Find Your Park / Encuentra Tu Parque as the National Park Service, the National Park Foundation, and other partners will continue the campaign’s momentum in 2017. The Find Your Park movement will continue to engage new audiences, especially around significant moments, including National Park Week in April and the NPS 101st birthday in August. Throughout the year, the NPS and its partners will invite the public to explore parks they haven’t yet discovered, build personal connections to special places in their communities, and find ways to help ensure that future generations are able to fully experience their national parks and the NPS programs that steward America’s treasures.
Vicksburg NMP plans to build on the successes of 2016, by expanding educational programming to more grade levels and exploring other educational opportunities for the area’s students. The Vicksburg NMP’s Centennial Volunteer Ambassador will be extended through the end of 2017 to help develop the volunteer program, and allowing for an expanded interpretive program and community presence in the coming year.
More information about the success and long term legacy of the NPS Centennial is available online here: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/centennial/success.htm.