100 years is a long time. In the preceding 100 years the first trans-Atlantic was completed, the first jet airplane was designed, the telephone, fax machine and cell phone were invented, cars replaced horses, and the National Park Service was introduced to protect and manage our American heritage of spectacular landscapes for posterity.
In celebration of this centennial and in preparation for the next hundred years, EcoFlight’s student program focused on the importance of our national parks, the threats to them, and how we can be more inclusive in offering experiences to a wider variety of visitors, and how to include more perspectives in our advocacy.
Students studied Arches, Canyonlands, Grand Canyon and Mesa Verde, National Parks, Colorado National Monument, and the proposed Grand Canyon and Bears Ears National Monuments.
Focus areas for discussion included:
- National Park Service Centennial Celebration: EcoFlight joins in the national movement to celebrate the achievements of the past 100 years and kick off a second century of stewardship for America’s national parks and for communities across the nation.
- Threats to our National Parks: students saw from the air the effects of energy development on public lands, and learned about proposals to develop or protect lands adjacent to parks, and efforts to keep parks funded.
- Native American perspective: students met with Native American groups who are proposing protections for lands with cultural significance, and learned about a different kind of relationship with nature.
- Diversity in our parks: students met with groups representative of different racial and socio-economic communities, and discussed how to engage a more diverse constituency of national park users and advocates that is inclusive of people of all ethnicities, genders, sexual orientation, socio-economic situations, religions, abilities and ages.
- Future stewardship: students met with park managers, activists, energy developers and elected officials to learn the intricacies of public land issues, and discussed how young adults can help ensure clean and healthy and well-funded national parks for future generations.