|National Park Service Partners and Employees Receive Department of the Interior Awards for Conservation Partnerships and Environmental Achievement
Washington – Various efforts to protect natural resources in and around national parks have been recognized by the Department of the Interior with Partners in Conservation and Environmental Achievement awards.
"The National Park Service constantly seeks to improve conservation practices and partnerships in an effort to protect our natural resources and provide additional opportunities for all Americans to enjoy the great outdoors,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “These award recipients really lead the way and serve as outstanding examples of all we can accomplish collaboratively to make our public lands accessible and sustainable.”
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today distributed Partners in Conservation awards to public-private partnerships that achieved remarkable results through cooperation and community engagement. The following partnerships involving National Park Service sites and programs were among the 20 groups receiving this award.
- American Samoa Rainforest Partnership – The National Park of American Samoa joined forces with the U.S. Forest Service and the American Conservation Experience to help reclaim 2,840 acres of Samoan native forests in 10 villages on Tutuila and Ta’u islands that were threatened by invasive rubber trees and nitrogen-fixing tamaligi and lopa trees.
- The Groundwork USA Network – In partnership with the National Park Service’s Rivers Trails and Conservation Assistance Program and the Environmental Protection Agency, Groundwork utilizes thousands of volunteers to conserve waterways, create or improve hundreds of acres of green space, and produce tons of healthy food in 22 communities throughout the country.
- Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative Flight 93 Reforestation Project – The National Park Service and the Office of Surface Mining have coordinated the planting of 34,000 tree saplings by 1,200 volunteers as part of the effort to reforest the previously mined and reclaimed land where United Flight 93 crashed on September 11, 2001. The site is preserved today as Flight 93 National Memorial.
- Cultural Resources Team of the Southern Nevada Agency Partnership – Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Bureau of Land Management, the Lost City Museum, the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have worked together to survey more than 20,000 acres of federal lands, record more than 500 cultural resource sites and inventory more than 1,000,0000 artifacts on land with fragile archeological sites.
- Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative – Bryce Canyon, Cedar Breaks and Zion national parks along with Grand Canyon-Parashant and Pipe Spring national monuments have partnered with the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians, the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Utah Department of Natural Resources, Southern Utah University and Dixie State University to help young people gain land and resource management career training. High school and college students work as interpreters, natural and cultural resources support staff, wildland firefighters and fee collectors. They have learned to repair trails, restore streams and riparian areas, reduce woody fuel loads and invasive vegetation, and monitor and restore wilderness study areas and cultural resources.
- Cienega Watershed Partnership – Saguaro National Park is one of 33 partners that engage high school students in meaningful outdoor experiences in the Cienga Watershed. The teens gain leadership and technical skills, as well as knowledge of environmental and public land law, as they plan and implement restoration projects under the guidance of local mentors.
The Department of the Interior also recently honored employees at two national parks with the Department’s 2013 Environmental Achievement Award.
- In the individual category, Rene Ohms, a physical science technician at Jewel Cave National Monument was recognized for her efforts to attain Climate Friendly Park status for the park. Because of her efforts, the park was able to complete greenhouse gas inventories and develop a modified environmental management system and Climate Friendly Park Plan. Ohms shared her lessons learned with other parks in the Black Hills area by coordinating and leading two Climate Friendly Park workshops.
- In the team category, the Green Team at Kalaupapa National Historical Park in Hawaii developed and implemented a solid waste management program that has resulted in an estimated 84 percent of the park’s trash being diverted from landfills to recycling, despite the park’s remote location, tropical climate, and limited staff resources. In the past, about 79 percent of the solid waste generated in Kalaupapa was disposed of in two on-site landfills and the remaining 21 percent recycled. The Green Team has taken significant measures to reduce, reuse, recycle, and protect the natural environment in order to reduce costs and conserve resources. The implementation of the solid waste management program has increased recycling and has motivated park staff and surrounding communities to seek sustainable practices beyond recycling.
All of the award recipients have made a significant contribution to the National Park Service’s 2016 centennial commitment to “Go Green” by reducing our impact on the environment, mitigating the effects of climate change and integrating sustainable practices into every aspect of our National Park Service operations.
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