Just like many components of the environment, our national parks face significant risks. From climate change to the prevalence of deforestation, many environmental activists and organizations have taken the initiative in protecting national parks and the wildlife that call these parks home.
Here, we look at some of the programs that are helping preserve natural parks while working to educate the public on their significance.
National Parks Conservation Association
The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) works to protect the United States’ national parks though a variety of measures. Established in 1995, NPCA has partnered with a number of individuals and groups in order to educate citizens about public parks and the threats that they face.
One of the ways NPCA furthers its mission is by coordinating travel events where citizens can explore America’s national park system. These small group tours are made possible through a partnership with Off the Beaten Path, which hosts tours all over the US.
One upcoming NCPA event includes a trip to Big Bend National Park, located near the Rio Grande river in Southwest Texas. Tour participants will have the opportunity to view native wildlife, hike the park’s challenging trails, and stargaze the night sky.
Another upcoming NCPA trip includes a tour of the Four Corners region of New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Utah. This trip will serve to educate tourists about ancient Pueblo peoples. Visitors will also be able to view the natural rock formations in the area.
The NCPA website provides a detailed list of all upcoming trips, including pricing details, and what to expect on each tour. Those interested in helping NCPA with its mission can make donations on the website as well.
National Park Trust
A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, National Park Trust works to preserve the nation’s parks. It does so in part by spearheading park preservation projects and educating youth on environmental issues. The National Park Trust has emphasized the importance of national parks since its inception in 1983. During that time, the organization has successfully completed over 100 conservation projects covering nearly 45,000 acres of land.
National Park Trust’s partners include the National Park Service at Mojave National Preserve in California. This partnership secured nearly $500,000 in funding for tortoise research at the affiliated Desert Tortoise Research Facility.
Additionally, National Park Trust hosts the annual Kids to Parks Day celebration. This is a day where playing outdoors is encouraged. Last year’s event saw over 700,000 participants nationwide, and mayors across the country declared the day in their respective cities. Information about the upcoming Kids to Parks Day events and photos from previous events can be found on the National Park Trust website.
Since its founding, the organization has been involved in a variety of major park restoration projects. National Park trust employs an experienced Park Land Mitigation Team, which demonstrates a commitment to creating detailed mitigation and conservation plans to address environmental concerns.
Not only that, National Park Trust has been instrumental in raising awareness of environmental issues. It has also weighed in on environmental legislation such as the Clean Air Act, The National Environmental Policy Act, and The Clean Water Act, to name a few.
The National Park Foundation
The National Park Foundation seeks to preserve the United States’ historical environmental landmarks. The foundation believes that national parks should be revered and protected from environmental hazards. Further, the organization asserts that parks should receive full restoration following unexpected events such as natural disasters.
The National Park Foundation understands that the threats to the environment are very real. This is why the foundation regularly raises funds and awareness while also striving to present new solutions and encouraging citizens to get involved. The National Park Foundation’s accomplishments include, but are not limited to, investing millions of dollars in the Elwha River restoration project, providing funds to restore 6,600 acres of land in the Everglades, and providing $30 million to assist with the construction of the Flight 93 National Memorial.
In addition, The National Park Foundation oversees the Climate Challenge Program. This organization provides training for science teachers on the effects of climate change and also provides guidance on how teachers can incorporate information on the topic in their curricula.
The Climate Challenge Program is designed to foster dialogue about environmental issues, educate the youth through relevant information, and provide connections to our national parks. Teachers who participate in the Climate Challenge Program can access the training either in person or online, and all participants are encouraged to create a service project with their students.
As threats to the environment continue to grow, protecting our national parks has never been more important. Organizations that focus on park preservation realize how vital it is to educate the public and raise environmental awareness. These organizations give citizens the opportunity to learn how they can play an active role in preserving these natural treasures.