It’s time to celebrate a centennial as the National Park Service turns 100 on Aug. 25, and you are invited to the party! Explore the great outdoors by visiting one of these natural and historical treasures and enjoy free admission to all NPS sites when you visit from Aug. 25 to 28.
There are 412 sites under the protection of the National Park Service—22 sites are National Parks, including three in Arizona: Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest and Saguaro National Parks. Our state also is home to 14 National Monuments, two historic sites, a memorial and a historical park. In addition, Arizona has two National Historic Trails and two National Recreation Areas that are shared with neighboring states.
Yellowstone National Park became the country’s—really the world’s—first National Park on March 1, 1872. Over 2 million acres in Montana and Wyoming were set aside by the U.S. Congress and devoted to “the benefit and enjoyment of the people."
Yellowstone and other national parks and monuments were under the management of the Secretary of the Interior until President Woodrow Wilson signed an act on Aug. 25, 1916, creating the National Park Service.
These natural and historic locations are found in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan and the Virgin Islands. Many are hosting special events this month to mark this special occasion. At Flagstaff City Hall, there will be a birthday bash on Aug. 20 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be park booths, demonstrations, performances and even birthday cake!
To find other centennial events happening this month, visit the National Park Service website at www.NPS.gov.
## Kids in Conservation
There are lots of opportunities for kids to volunteer, to become guardians for the environment and to help protect our nation’s natural areas, according to Kevin Dahl, Arizona Senior Program Manager for the National Parks Conservation Association.
Kids need to “find their voice and be an advocate for the parks” so that these public lands are protected for future generations, says Dahl. Getting out in our National Parks also prevents kids from suffering “nature deficiency disorder,” Dahl adds.
“Being in nature is a healthy place to be,” he says. Humans are designed to interact with our natural environment, Dahl explains. “Nature is complicated…there’s always movement” and that leads us to ENGAGE our brains and all our senses, according to Dahl.
The Student Conservation Association is working with the Girl Scouts to get girls outdoors. Three Phoenix area Girl Scouts from the Cactus-Pine Council will travel to Virginia for two weeks at Shenandoah National Park. The girls were selected to be part of an all-Girl Scout trail crew. They will meet girls from other parts of the country, have the experience of a lifetime and get the chance to tackle the challenge of environmental STEWARDSHIP.
“It’s a great program,” says Dahl, “for readers who are interested in a career in conservation or just getting out in the park.” Dahl says the Student Conservation Association helped set him on his career path. “In high school I spent two weeks in the Grand Canyon working on a trail with other high school students from across the country,” he says.
Programs meant just for kids—Every Kid in a Park and Junior Ranger programs—are great ways to get kids outdoors. The Every Kid in a Park program is ending soon, and families with a fourth grader should take advantage of this great opportunity to get an annual pass, says Dahl.
The people at the National Park Service “are hoping that every fourth grader will be able to get to a park,” says Dahl, whether it is through a family trip or a scouting trip.
## Theodore Roosevelt
You may be familiar with President Theodore Roosevelt. He was the namesake for the “Teddy” bear, or you may recall the wax figure of the president that came to life in the “Night at the Museum” movies. But you also can thank our 26th president for many of the parks and monuments in our National Parks Service.
Roosevelt had chronic asthma attacks as a youngster, but he always loved the outdoors. National Geographic calls him “one of the park system’s greatest patrons.” Roosevelt was responsible for creating five National Parks and 18 national monuments. He also established over 50 bird sanctuaries and he added millions of acres of land to our national forests.
In 1906 President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act, giving presidents the power to PRESERVE historic landmarks and historic and prehistoric structures among other things.
## Fourth-Graders, Act Now!
As part of a year-long celebration leading up to its centennial, the National Park Service has made an effort to get “Every Kid in a Park.” Fourth-grade students were invited to do an online activity, then print out a voucher to get an Every Kid in a Park pass. This annual pass gets kids and their families into hundreds of parks and federal lands for free! This great program started last September, and it ends Aug. 30, so hurry and get your pass before it’s too late.
## Be a Junior Ranger
Did you know that you can become a Junior Ranger and learn more about our National Parks? Grand Canyon National Park, Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area are just a few that offer the Junior Ranger program.
Kids (ages 5 to 13) can engage in a fun, educational activity while visiting a participating park. Then after answering a few questions, Junior Rangers earn a badge and certificate and recite the motto, to “Explore, Learn and Protect.”
To find out more about the Junior Ranger program and the
Every Kid in a Park pass, visit:
## National Park Word Search
You can find these National Parks and Monuments here in Arizona! Can you find them in Boomer’s Word Search?
CANYON DE CHELLY