News from our National Parks FEBRUARY 2010
February Events in our National Parks, Memorials, National Historical Sites, etc.
— Alaska —
(Alaska) — Denali National Park and Preserve, its partners, and the Denali Borough communities will celebrate all that is special about our longest season during the 10th annual Winterfest Celebration from Friday, February
26 through Sunday, February 28. The schedule will include an array of events for all ages, interests, and abilities, outdoors and indoors.
Activities will include sled-dog rides, a ranger-guided snowshoe walk, ice carving, and a snow-sculpting contest. The complete schedule of activities will be posted at www.nps.gov/dena in early February.
Sitka NHP Readies for Centennial
(Alaska) — March marks the start of the centennial year for Sitka National Historical Park in southeast Alaska. Sitka was established as a national monument on March 23, 1910. The park includes the site of the 1804 fort and battleground that saw the last major Tlingit Indian resistance to Russian colonization. The park also features the 1842 Russian Bishop’s House, the best-preserved architecture of the colonial period. The park will mark the anniversary with the carving of a new totem pole beginning in January and will host anniversary events on March 21 and 23. For more information, please check http://www.nps.gov/sitk/100-year-anniversary.htm.
— Arizona —
Conversations on the Edge
(Arizona) — Grand Canyon National Park’s Division of Science and Resource Management will present monthly community lectures in Flagstaff in collaboration with the Grand Canyon Association and Northern Arizona University’s Cline Library. The Conversations on the Edge lecture series will feature resource specialists from the park speaking about monitoring, managing, and preserving Grand Canyon’s natural and cultural resources for present and future generations. The lectures will take place the first Wednesday of every month, February through May, 2010. This year’s speakers will include Acting Cultural Resources Program Manager Ian Hough, Vegetation Mapping Coordinator Mike Kearsley, Hydrologist Steve Rice, and Wildlife Biologist Brandon Holton. All of the lectures are free and open to the public. On February 3, Mr. Hough will speak on “Extreme Cultural Landscapes: New Archeological Research in Grand Canyon National Park” from 7 to 8:30 p.m. For more on this year’s Conversations, please visit http://www.nps.gov/grca/naturescience/srmlec09.htm.
— California —
23rd Annual Whale Watch Weekend & Intertidal Life Festival at Cabrillo
(California) — Each year, an estimated 20,000 gray whales in the Eastern Pacific herd return from Alaskan feeding waters to warm, shallow lagoons in Baja California to give birth and find mates. Their roundtrip migration is the longest of any mammal in the world. Cabrillo National Monument will hold its 23rd annual Whale Watch Weekend and Intertidal Life Festival on February 6 and 7, 2010, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This educational, family-oriented event celebrates the return of migrating Pacific gray whales to Point Loma and the intertidal life found in the tide pools on the monument’s western shore. This year’s festival will also celebrate the ribbon-cutting for the park’s new Kelp Forest and Whale Overlook and will coincide with the park’s hosting of the temporary exhibit “Sea of Cortez.”
In addition to whales and sea anemones, this exciting weekend will feature guest speakers, films, and a puppet show. For more information, please contact Rick Jenkins at 619-523-4573 or Rick_Jenkins@nps.gov.
Manzanar Barracks Groundbreaking Set for February 13, 2010
(California) — The National Park Service, Friends of Manzanar, and Manzanar History Association invite the public to attend a groundbreaking event at 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 13, 2010. From 1942 to 1945, Manzanar War Relocation Center confined more than 10,000 Japanese Americans in 36 blocks. Each block included 14 barracks buildings, a mess hall, a recreation building, latrines, and laundry and ironing rooms. After the war, the buildings were sold for scrap lumber or relocated. In 1997, in consultation with the Manzanar Advisory Commission, former internees, historians, and others, the National Park Service approved the development of Block 14 as a “demonstration block” to interpret daily life in the camp.
In fiscal years 2009 and 2010, Congress approved funding for reconstructing Barracks 1 and 8 on Block 14. A restored World War II mess hall that was moved to the site from Bishop Airport in 2002 will open to visitors later this year. After the groundbreaking for the barracks, Manzanar History Association will provide light refreshments in the mess hall. Later that day, the National Park Service invites former internees to gather informally with visitors in the Manzanar Interpretive Center to share their memories and experiences. The events are free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Alisa Lynch or Nancy Hadlock at 760-878-2194 ext. 2711 or ext. 2716.
Yosemite Renaissance XXV Juried Exhibition Opens
(California) — The 25th Yosemite Renaissance exhibition opens on Saturday, February 27, 2010, at the National Park Service Yosemite Museum Gallery.
This annual exhibit encourages diverse interpretations of Yosemite and the environment of the Sierra Nevada. This year’s competitive exhibit was selected from a record number of entries. Forty-two paintings, prints, photographs, and sculptures by artists throughout the country will be on display. The exhibit hours are 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. daily. The official opening will be preceded by an opening reception and an awards presentation from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, February 26. The public is cordially invited to attend this reception. The exhibit continues through May 2. For more information on Yosemite Renaissance and its programs, please visit http://www.yosemiterenaissance.org/.
Yosemite Hands-On to Protect Bears
(California) — Yosemite National Park managers work to protect the American black bear. The challenge: human errors can easily affect the species. Humans may approach too closely or store food improperly.
Yosemite’s 2009 Interdivisional Bear Team accomplished 210 night patrols;
38,573 vehicle inspections; and 4,607 campsite inspections. In addition, the bear team mitigated 7,862 food storage violations; wrote 1,954 food storage warnings and gave 1,065 verbal warnings; and impounded food 54 times. The team also set 239 bear traps, captured 21 individual bears, placed radio collars on 12 bears, and received 25 reports of bears hit by vehicles. Bear activity in 2009 peaked in August, with 124 bear incidents.
In more than 535 total incidents, financial damage amounted to more than $80,000, half of which was to cars in parking lots. For more information, please contact Scott Gediman at 209-372-0200 and Niki Nicholas at 209-372-0472.
Thousands Became Yosemite Junior Rangers in 2009
(California) — In 2009, more than 27,000 children became Yosemite Junior Rangers, compared with 15,000 in 2008 and 6,000 in 2007. The 2009 increase is due to an increase in daily Junior Ranger programs given by the park’s summer interpretive rangers and supported by a Yosemite Fund project.
Yosemite offers books for two age groups (ages seven to 13 and ages three to six) and in multiple languages. For more information, please contact Scott Gediman at 209-372-0200 and Tom Medema at 209-372-0291.
Yosemite Tallies Its Battle Against Invasive Plants
(California) — Yosemite National Park’s invasive plant crew technicians treated 156 gross-infested acres (27 acres in wilderness) in 2009. On the whole, invasive plant ecologists recorded 805 acres (285 in wilderness) of non-native plant infestations. Using GIS, the invasive plant crew mapped
2,664 points, lines, and polygons of invasive plant infestations and treatments in 2009. Yosemite’s removal efforts focus on the control of nine high-priority species: yellow star-thistle, Himalayan blackberry, spotted knapweed, bull thistle, common velvet grass, cheat grass, French broom, Italian thistle, and perennial pepperweed. For more information, please contact Scott Gediman at 209-372-0200 and Niki Nicholas at 209-372-0472.
— Florida —
Fort Barrancas by Candlelight
(Florida) — Gulf Islands National Seashore will present a candlelight tour of Fort Barrancas on Saturday, February 13 from 5 to 7:15 p.m. Small groups will depart the visitor center every 15 minutes for the hour-long tour.
Costumed interpreters will present the history of Pensacola during the Civil War at different stations inside the fort. In addition, the Fort Barrancas Visitor Center, with new museum exhibits, audiovisual programs, and a bookstore, will be open. Visitors should call 850-455-5167 for tour reservations, which are required.
Xavier Cortada’s “Endangered World” at Biscayne National Park
(Florida) — Miami artist Xavier Cortada will mount a major installation at Biscayne National Park’s Convoy Point this winter and spring. “Endangered
World: Biscayne National Park” will feature 360 brightly colored flags lining the roads and trails at Convoy Point for over a mile, each representing one degree of the planet’s longitude. Individuals and organizations will adopt an endangered or threatened animal that lives at that longitude and paint an image of the animal on one of the flags. At the same time, participants will commit to an “eco-action” that directly or indirectly mitigates the plight of that animal. The flags will be on display from February 14 to May 1, 2010, for the 10 weeks leading up to BioBlitz, National Geographic’s 24-hour count of as many living things as possible in Biscayne National Park. The flags will then become a part of an “Endangered World” traveling exhibit that will go to other national parks around the country. For more information, please visit the park’s website at www.nps.gov/bisc, contact Ranger Gary Bremen at 305-230-1144 ext. 007, or e-mail Project Manager Arielle Angel at email@example.com.
BioBlitz: For the Love of Diversity
(Florida) — Family Fun Fest is a free public program held at Biscayne National Park on the second Sunday of every month from December through April. Each month, the festival highlights a different aspect of the park’s diverse resources at five hands-on activity stations located around the Dante Fascell Visitor Center. This month’s event (on February 14 from 1 to 4 p.m.) is titled “BioBlitz: For the Love of Diversity.”
The United Nations has declared 2010 the “International Year of Biodiversity,” and National Geographic is joining with Biscayne National Park later this spring for BioBlitz, a 24-hour, all-species biodiversity count for the park. Be among the first to see the new “Endangered World” art installation; discover how biodiversity is like a box of chocolates; and find out, in Episode 3 of Climate: 911, if superheroes Buffer Boy and The Colorizer can protect Biscayne’s animals from Dr. Verduga’s evil plans to warm the planet and change it forever. For more information, please contact Ranger Gary Bremen at 305-230-1144 ext. 007.
Acadia National Park Adult Education Courses
(Maine) — Acadia National Park staff will offer two adult education courses in the local communities of Bar Harbor and Ellsworth, Maine. New this year for the Bar Harbor sessions will be three outdoor activities:
tips on weathering the cold winter safely and in comfort, learning about the signs of animals in the winter, and a geology walk. Topics for the Ellsworth session will include forest ecology, fire ecology, history of the carriage roads, and history of Downeast Maine. For more information, please contact Ardrianna McLane at 207-288-8733 or Kate Petrie at 207-288-8808.
— Massachusetts —
Book Publication Party for Ten Hills Farm
(Massachusetts) — Celebrate the release of Catherine S. Manegold’s newest book, Ten Hills Farm: The Forgotten History of Slavery in the North, with an illustrated talk given by Manegold and hosted by Longfellow National Historic Site. This free event will be held on Wednesday, February 3, 2010, at 6:30 p.m. in the Sherrill Library (third floor) on the Lesley University/Episcopal Divinity School campus. (The campus is next to Longfellow NHS, at the corner of Brattle and Mason streets in Cambridge.) The evening will include book sales and a book signing. Seating is limited, and reservations are required. Please call 617-876-4491 to reserve a seat.
A Whaling Adventure
(Massachusetts) — New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park is launching a new online activity for children. The program, A Whaling Adventure, uses flash animation and a combination of historic images, quotes, paintings, illustrations, and audio clips to introduce young visitors to the whaling story. Learn about the people and places you may have found in a whaling port of the 1850s by peeking inside blacksmith and cooper shops, a whaleman’s chapel, homes, and other locales in the “home port” section of the activity. After exploring the home port, set sail on a whaling voyage around the world and explore foreign ports in the Azores, Cape Verde, Hawaii, and Alaska. For more information about New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, please call 508-996-4095 or visit www.nps.gov/nebe.
— New York —
Discover a People “Hidden in Plain Sight” at Ellis Island (New York) — From February 6 through May 9, 2010, the Ellis Island Immigration Museum will host the interactive exhibit “Hidden in Plain Sight: The Basques.” The exhibit presents object-based learning opportunities about the unique origins, language, and history of the Basque people; the factors that pulled them from their homes; the legendary tales of these immigrants; Basque contributions in the United States and the world; and the unprecedented cultural connection that pushes them to keep expanding, rather than diminishing, the transcontinental exchange. Basques have rarely been recognized for their historic contributions or cultural distinctiveness. As they passed through Ellis Island, well-meaning officials often disregarded Basques’ nationality, names, and heritage.
Today, even though Basque politicians, scientists, sports figures, business executives, artists, and movie stars may be prominent throughout the United States and in many nations around the world, they are still not often recognized as being Basque, perpetuating their being “hidden in plain sight.” This exhibit is organized by the Basque Museum & Cultural Center (BMCC), the Basque Autonomous government, and the Boise State University Basque Studies Center. The exhibit is suitable for visitors ages nine and older. For more information, please contact Mindi Rambo at 212-668-2208.
Discover the Story of the Buffalo Soldiers Bicycle Corps (New York) — Join a National Park Service ranger for a talk about the African American infantry soldiers who rode bicycles from Montana west to Yellowstone National Park and east to St. Louis, Missouri, in the 1880s.
This Black History Month program will take place in the visitor center at Ft. Wadsworth in the Staten Island Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, February 6. For more information, please contact Mindi Rambo at 212-668-2208.
Presidents and African American History
(New York) — Please join the National Park Service from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 13 at St. Paul’s Church National Historic Site for talks and re-enactments commemorating Presidents Day and African American History Month (February). Events will include appearances by Presidents Washington, Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, as well as talks about Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In addition, there will be special activities for children. For more information, please contact Mindi Rambo at 212-668-2208.
Fire Island National Seashore Participates in Great Backyard Bird Count (New York) — On Saturday, February 13, a ranger will guide a three-hour, three-mile bird walk through the 613-acre William Floyd Estate in Mastic Beach on Long Island. During this program, led by naturalist MaryLaura Lamont, all observed bird species will be tallied and submitted to the annual Great Backyard Bird Count, a citizen science project hosted by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology ( http://www.birdcount.org/). Fire Island National Seashore’s free program starts at 9 a.m. Additional winter hikes and programs are offered at the Fire Island Lighthouse and the Wilderness Visitor Center on Fire Island. For more information, please visit www.nps.gov/fiis.
Sagamore Hill Announces Free Programs February 14 to 21, 2010 (New York) — Sagamore Hill will be open every day the week of Presidents Day, including the holiday itself, February 15, and will offer a variety of free programs, activities, and exhibits. Check out the new exhibit at the Old Orchard Museum about the history of the West Wing of the White House.
Go on a guided nature walk. See special guests, including President Roosevelt who, portrayed by James Foote, will offer his interpretive portrayal of TR and an exclusive “storytime program” for children. In addition, children’s book author Leslie Kimmelman will read her book Mind Your Manners, Alice Roosevelt and be available to sign this work about the rebellious young Alice, the president’s eldest daughter. Visit Sagamore Hill’s website, www.nps.gov/sahi, and, starting February 1, download a podcast developed especially for Presidents Day week about Theodore Roosevelt and his historical assessments of U.S. presidents who preceded him. For more information, please contact Noreen Hancock at 516-922-4788.
— Pennsylvania —
Annual Boy Scouts of America Pilgrimage
(Pennsylvania) — On Saturday, February 13, 2010, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Valley Forge National Historical Park will host the 97th Anniversary George Washington Birthday Encampment and Pilgrimage of the Boy Scouts of America. In this event—the oldest continuous annual Boy Scouts event in the world—scouts will march to several specially-designed outdoor theme sites.
The event is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Elise Cleva at 202-208-6843.
The 2nd Pennsylvania
(Pennsylvania ) — On Sunday, February 14, 2010, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., visitors to Valley Forge National Historical Park can see the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment at the Muhlenberg Brigade huts. There will be musket-firing programs and cooking demonstrations. Ranger-led walks to the Muhlenberg Brigade huts take place at 10:20 a.m., 12:50 p.m., and 2:20 p.m., with musket and artillery programs at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3 p.m.
This event is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Barb Pollarine at 610-783-1032.
Washington’s 278th Birthday Celebration
(Pennsylvania ) — Valley Forge National Historical Park will celebrate George Washington’s birthday on Monday, February 15, 2010, from 10 a.m. to
2 p.m. Visitors can meet portrayers of Martha Washington and General Washington in the visitor center while listening to period music by the Colonial Revelers. Children can make their own tri-corner hats and design birthday cards for the general in the Encampment Store from 10 a.m. to noon. After the card- and hat-making, Mrs. Washington will present, for tasting, a birthday cake baked from her own original recipe. Children may also enlist in the Continental Army. General Washington will review and lead the young troops in marching and maneuvering drills executed according to General Von Steuben’s training manual. The events are free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Kimberly Szewczyk at
An Evening with the Painting
(Pennsylvania) — On February 27 from 5 to 7:30 p.m., visit Gettysburg National Military Park and learn about the history and conservation of the Gettysburg Cyclorama painting. The evening includes an opportunity to spend time viewing the Cyclorama. For tickets, please visit http://www.gettysburgfoundation.org/ or call 877-874-2478. For more information, please contact Gettysburg National Military Park at 717-334-1124 ext. 8023 or visit www.nps.gov/gett.
— Virginia —
Farmyard Children’s Program
(Virginia) — On February 6 at 2 p.m., kids can see and learn about the types of animals on an 1850s farm at Booker T. Washington National Monument. The program features activities and a walk with Ranger Ann. There will also be a 28th birthday celebration for “Go” the horse. For more information, please contact Ranger Ann Jensen at 540-721-2094.
“Nearest Place to Nowhere: The Life of Dr. Booker T. Washington”
(Virginia) — A park ranger presentation at Booker T. Washington National Monument reveals struggles and challenges faced by Washington as he rose “up from slavery” to become a leader in black education and a spokesman for the economic progress of African Americans. The presentation will be at 2 p.m. on February 7. For more information, please contact Ranger Betsy Haynes at 540-721-2094.
Storytelling by Royal Shiree
(Virginia) — On February 20 at 7 p.m., Booker T. Washington National Monument celebrates Black History Month with this special program. Royal Shiree takes storytelling to a new level by sharing her experiences of teaching history to fifth graders. With humor and dramatic flair, Royal takes the audience on a fascinating journey in time. For more information, please contact Ranger Timbo Sims at 540-721-2094.
— Washington State —
Thirsting for Knowledge? Try “Tapping into Science”
(Washington) — A new series of monthly presentations, Tapping into Science, is exploring current science in the North Cascades. An approximately 30-minute presentation is given on the last Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at Chuckanut Brewery & Kitchen (601 West Holly Street, Bellingham, Washington). The second program in the series will be “Thirsty Mountain Tops: Decline of Frost-Brewed Glaciers” on February 24. Two-thirds of the glaciers in the lower 48 states are in the North Cascades. What does glacier monitoring tell us about their, and our, future? Dr. Jon Riedel, a geologist at North Cascades National Park, will present. For more information, please contact Charles Beall at 360-854-7302.
— West Virginia —
Lincoln at Cooper Union
(West Virginia) — Throughout February, Black History Month, a special exhibit entitled “Abraham Lincoln at Cooper Union: Prelude to Emancipation”
will focus on Abraham Lincoln’s 1860 speech against the expansion of slavery. This exhibit will open on Sunday, February 7, 2010, at 2 p.m. on the second floor of the John Brown Museum on Shenandoah Street in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Mr. Jim Getty will give a presentation as Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States. A ribbon-cutting ceremony opening the exhibit will follow Mr. Getty’s presentation. For more information, please contact Kim Biggs at 304-535-6024.
— Puerto Rico —
Unexpected Discovery in Castillo San Felipe del Morro (Puerto Rico) — A group of maintenance employees of the San Juan National Historic Site were removing ground from a shoreline trail of Castillo San Felipe del Morro when they found three buried, historical medals that had disappeared almost 18 years ago. In February 1992, the Military Museum, then located in El Morro, was vandalized, and a Spanish carbine of 1898, along with the three medals, was stolen. A month after the museum break-in, the carbine was recovered, but the medals, in spite of all the investigative efforts, could not be located. All those interested in seeing the historical medals, which were awarded by the Spanish government to Colonel José Antonio de Iriarte y Travieso, commanding official of Castillo San Felipe del Morro, in recognition of merit and valor in combat during the 1898 Spanish-American War, are welcome to visit the Cultural Resources Division, located in Castillo San Cristobal. The division is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, please contact Elise Cleva at 202-208-6843 or Elise_M_Cleva@nps.gov.