August 25 is Founder’s Day for the National Park Service, when it turns 100 years old. To celebrate, the federal agency and its partners invite the general public to attend a free birthday party at the Coral Gables Museum.
Organizers promise a bona fide bash, complete with a centennial birthday cake, a cash bar and socializing. Sponsored by the Florida National Parks Association, the party will be held in the museum gallery that houses This Land is Your Land: A Second Century for America’s National Parks, an exhibit that features images, videos, and artifacts from the collections of Biscayne, Dry Tortugas and Everglades National Parks and Big Cypress National Preserve.
Park and museum officials say the purpose of the exhibit is to use natural and cultural objects, artwork and film to elevate awareness and persuade people to help protect their parks. Rangers, park partners and museum staff from the South Florida National Parks will be on hand to discuss the national parks at the anniversary event.
“Over the past 100 years, the NPS has served as the steward of places and stories that reflect who we are as a nation and what we are made of as a people,” said Pedro Ramos, superintendent of Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks. “These places are truly America's national treasures. And while some celebrations are about the achievements of the past 100 years, this one is really about the future.”
Called America’s “best idea,” national parks were set aside for the enjoyment of all people now and in future generations. The creation of America’s first national park, Yellowstone in 1872, sparked a worldwide national park movement. Yellowstone was a preservationist response to the rapid settlement of the western plains made possible by the completion of the transcontinental railway.
During this period, more than a dozen other national parks and 21 monuments were created under various government agencies and were held to differing standards. Citizens urged Congress to create a federal agency dedicated to the management of the nation’s most majestic and treasured places. Congress passed the Organic Act of 1916, forming the National Park Service to manage “unimpaired” and “in perpetuity” America’s national parks under the Department of the Interior.
This Land is Your Land exhibit is designed by Miami-based firm Simplefly Creative and sponsored by the National Parks Conservation Association, Withers Worldwide, South Florida National Parks Trust and New Belgium Brewing Co. The curator is Jacqueline Crucet, Sun Coast outreach manager for the National Parks Conservation Association.
“This is an exciting day as we celebrate the power of the parks,” Ramos said. “People go to the parks looking for many things. Some look for solitude, some for recreation, some go to learn about our history and some go just for fresh air to breathe. Our goal is to be relevant, to be part of the identity of Miami and south Florida. We want the people of Miami to have a sense of ownership of their national parks.”
The exhibit began June 3 and ends Jan. 8, 2017. The Coral Gables Museum is at 285 Aragon Ave. in Coral Gables. Information on the Coral Gables Museum and This Land is Your Land exhibit is available at http://coralgablesmuseum.org/exibitions/
More information about Everglades National Park can be found on the park website at www.nps.gov/ever
This and other park news releases are available at www.nps.gov/ever/parknews/newsreleases.htm