Tuesday, April 19, 2016
NPS Renews Partnership with Student Conservation Association to Engage New Audiences, Promote Service and Stewardship for National Park Service’s 100th Anniversary
WASHINGTON, DC – One hundred young adults will mark the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service by leading a drive to connect people of all ages to their national parks and public lands. The National Park Service (NPS) Centennial Volunteer Ambassadors will devote the next year to increasing the ranks of park volunteers and organizing large-scale service projects.
“Even as we celebrate the National Park Service’s first one hundred years, we are focused on the next one hundred and the next generation of conservation leaders,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “These Centennial Volunteer Ambassadors will share their passion for national parks and inspire people to develop their own connections to the great outdoors all across America.”
The Centennial Volunteer Ambassador Program is a partnership between the National Park Service and the Student Conservation Association (SCA), and launched last year on a pilot run involving 70 interns. Its expansion in 2016-2017 will further support the Department of the Interior’s Play, Learn, Serve and Work Youth Initiative to expand educational, volunteer, and career opportunities for millions of young people and veterans on the nation’s public lands.
The new ambassador team consists of more than 100 recent college, high school graduates and veterans from diverse backgrounds. As they represent their respective parks, ambassadors will initiate or expand local community partnerships in support of volunteer service projects. The interns are responsible for recruiting, coordinating, and managing volunteer work groups throughout the year, with a special emphasis on national service dates such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Earth Day, National Public Lands Day, and Veterans Day. More information about volunteering in national parks can be found at www.volunteer.gov.
“My experiences in national parks have changed the way I see the outdoors, even the way I see myself,” states Centennial Volunteer Ambassador Ayomide Sekiteri. “I want to show others that national parks belong to everyone, and it is our responsibility to care for them.”
SCA President and CEO Jaime Berman Matyas says national parks can be powerful catalysts in youth development, and the centennial ambassadors play an important role in SCA’s leadership curriculum. “Experiences like these are truly transformative. They instill life skills and character traits that build on one another, strengthen over time, and foster optimal advancement,” Matyas said. “SCA and NPS are partnering to create a workforce for the second century of national parks.”
To learn more about the efforts of the Centennial Volunteer Ambassadors visit nps100sca.wordpress.com.