National Park Week 2015 Encourages Everyone To Find Your Park
TUPELO, MS – The Natchez Trace Parkway joins parks, programs, and partners across the country to encourage everyone to find their park and share their stories online at FindYourPark.com. Launched by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, Find Your Park is a public awareness and education campaign celebrating the milestone centennial anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016 and setting the stage for its second century of service.
Find Your Park invites the public to think of a national park as more than a place — it can be a feeling, a state of mind, or a sense of American pride. Beyond the vast National Park landscapes, the campaign highlights historical, urban, and cultural parks, and programs which protect, preserve, and share nature, culture, and history in communities nationwide.
A hands-on event designed to help people find their park and to promote an interest in the natural world will be held on Saturday, April 18, 2015, at the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center near Tupelo, MS.
Mississippi State University is partnering with the National Park Service to host a BioBlitz. Teams of scientists, students, teachers, and community members will track down and identify as many local plant and animal species as possible. The resulting inventory of living things helps scientists determine if biodiversity in the area is increasing or decreasing. Plant and wildlife experts will lead groups through different natural habitats and help participants identify and understand their discoveries.
This event also kicks off National Park Week and National Junior Ranger Day with the annual “Celebrate Wildlife Festival,” which includes a variety of activities and displays.
- Terry Vandeventer’s educational, fun, live snake program: “Snakes of Mississippi” at 10:15 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.
- Mississippi State University display about bats and bears
- US Fish and Wildlife Service with live fish
- Special Junior Ranger Day Activities available throughout the whole day
“The Natchez Trace Parkway is excited about inviting the public to join in our first event for the National Park Service Find Your Park campaign. We welcome the opportunity to connect with and create the next generation of park visitors, supporters, and advocates as they learn about and highlight the importance of biodiversity in our area,” says Natchez Trace Parkway Superintendent Mary Risser.
All activities are free of charge, open to all ages, and family friendly. Attendees can participate for a short time or stay for the entire day. Participants in BioBlitz walks will want to register at the Parkway Visitor Center prior to each BioBlitz walk. The registration desk opens at 8:30 a.m. The first walk is at 9 a.m., and the final hike begins at 5:15 p.m. Prior to attending the BioBlitz, participants are welcome to download iNaturalist, a free app that will enable them to submit their observations from the natural world and contribute them to iNaturalist.org, a social network for naturalists.
Registration, displays, and many programs will be at the Parkway Visitor Center, located just north of milepost 266 on the Natchez Trace Parkway, near Tupelo, MS. For additional information, please call the visitor center at 662-680-4027 or 1-800-305-7417. Please visit www.nps.gov/natr
Visit www.NationalParkWeek.org to learn more about how you can join parks, programs, and partners in celebrating National Park Week across the country.