Inspired by Ken Burns' critically acclaimed documentary "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," this program builds partnerships between national parks and community, state, and other public organizations, and engages diverse audiences in meaningful and relevant ways with national parks and inspires participants to become stewards of our National Park System.
"The America's Best Idea program connects people – particularly youth – to America's national parks, often for the first time," said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. "Through meaningful and memorable in-park experiences that highlight the natural, cultural, and historical treasures in our National Park System, we are able to inspire the next generation of park-goers."
"We want everyone to find themselves in a national park," said Jonathan B. Jarvis, director of the National Park Service. "These National Park Foundation grants will help people acquire a better understanding of their national parks and, hopefully, of themselves, through place-based learning and recreational activities. Native Americans who will visit traditional homelands, budding scientists who will study environmental impacts, and students from Gallaudet University who will examine aspects of the Americans with Disabilities Act are among the many groups which will benefit from the grants."
The Healthy You, Healthy Community program provides opportunities for the underserved youth of Sumter County, Georgia to engage with the National Park Service, build self-esteem, unite with their local communities, and become good stewards of the land. Jimmy Carter lived, worked, and played on a farm in rural Archery, Georgia during the Great Depression.
This rural setting helped shape the character of a young boy who grew up to become President of the United States through hard work and determination. This initiative retells the lessons and values of the past to inspire, encourage, and influence our youth and create a generation concerned about protecting our resources while engaging them in fun, educational activities.
Successfully connecting hard work with making a difference can provide the motivation our youth needs to stay in school, break the cycle that poverty tells them will never escape and become productive, continual "givers" to their communities.
Chris Abbett, Acting Superintendent of the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site said: "The Jimmy Carter National Historic Site is excited about receiving this grant from the National Park Foundation. We look forward to working with the Boys and Girls Club, the Friends of Jimmy Carter National Historic Site and many other park partners to enhance the educational experiences of local youth through this grant."
The 2014 America's Best Idea grantees include:
Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area (KY, TN)
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site (KS)
Bryce Canyon National Park (UT)
Canyon de Chelly National Monument (AZ)
Cape Cod National Seashore (MA)
Cape Lookout National Seashore (NC)
Congaree National Park (SC)
Denali National Park & Preserve (AK)
Everglades National Park (FL)
Flagstaff Area National Monuments (AZ)
George Washington Carver National Monument (MO)
Glacier National Park (MT)
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (AZ, UT)
Grand Teton National Park (WY)
Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve (CO)
Independence National Historical Park (PA)
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (MO)
Jimmy Carter National Historic Site (GA)
Katmai National Park and Preserve (AK)
Kobuk Valley National Park (AK)
Lincoln Home National Historic Site (IL)
Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove on the Potomac (VA)
Mississippi National River & Recreation Area (MN)
Moores Creek National Battlefield (NC)
Mount Rainier National Park (WA)
National Capital Region (DC)
Olympic National Park (WA)
Point Reyes National Seashore (CA)
President's Park (White House) (DC)
Prince William Forest Park (VA)
Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park (CA)
Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway (WI, MN)
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park (CA)
Virgin Islands National Park (VI)
Weir Farm National Historic Site (CT)
Wilson's Creek National Battlefield (MO)
Yellowstone National Park (ID, MT, WY)
Yosemite National Park (CA)
Zion National Park (UT)
A listing of these parks and their America's Best Idea project descriptions can be found on the National Park Foundation website.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at: www.nps.gov.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America's national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.