Telling Stories Around the Campfire…And in Other Park Places

Gather folks ‘round the campfire—literal or figurative—to listen to stories. In the proud tradition of rangering, many stories are told in national parks about history, nature, journeys, lore, and personal memories. And many ways to tell them, including oral traditions, artwork, performances, literature, poetry, albums and scrapbooks, and now sharing on social media. What are your favorite stories? And which will you share?

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Stop for a moment to experience and reflect on the world around you. Create your own campfire—literal or figurative—to gather around with family and friends to tell stories, share memories, and let your imaginations run wild together. (Footage provided by and belongs to More Than Just Parks)

Arts of Storytelling in Parks

Thousands of years of storytelling are preserved in national parks and through National Park Service programs and partnerships in communities. We share stories through ranger talks, artwork, museum exhibits, live performances, living history events, cultural demonstrations, and more. Explore different arts of storytelling, find parks to visit, learn about the work we do, and find ideas and activities to tell your own stories.

Kid's drawing of a horse on a beach running away from a big wave in a rainstorm

Arts In Parks

Many forms of art allow us to tell stories of the natural world around us and share cultural heritage and history.

Ranger helping three kids writing in Junior Ranger books

Literature & Poetry

The written and spoken word can immortalize stories and capture the imagination and interest of multiple generations.

Two musicians holding trumpets

Music

Music is one of the oldest forms of storytelling and sharing cultural heritage between generations and with others.

Painter painting a red barn on the other side of her canvas

Painting

Brush strokes can paint a telling narrative or inspire others to discover more about the pictures we create.

Two visitors taking a selfie in front of a canyon

Photography

Photography captures moments in time for us to reflect back and to chronicle our own journeys.

Tell Your Stories

Smore on a table with leaves and pinecones

NPS / Matt Turner

Social Media

Be a storyteller on social media! Share your stories, photos, memories, and connections to national parks! Use the hashtag #TellingStories, #FindYourPark, or #EncuentraTuParque to help inspire others to discover new stories and find their personal connections to national parks.

#FindYourPark Friday Art

Join the National Park Foundation, our official partner, in a weekly tradition of sharing art inspired by beauty, stories, and experiences in national parks. Share your artwork of any style of your choice on social media using #FindYourPark. It may even be featured in the #FindYourPark Friday Gallery!

Write Out Challenge October 11-25, 2020

Write Out is a free two-week event hosted by the National Park Service and the National Writing Project to encourage educators, students, and everyone to explore national parks and other public spaces to connect and learn through place-based writing and sharing. Sign up for a series of online activities leading up to a celebration on the National Day of Writing on October 20.

History Discovery Events

Interested in creating lessons or events to tell history? Explore resources inspired by the great work of our peers to help history practitioners design, implement, and evaluate educational materials and events to connect people, places, and histories.

Featured Stories

National Park Service staff and partners use storytelling to connect people with the nation’s rich and diverse natural and cultural heritage found in national parks and communities. Explore some of the stories they telling for discussions now, including 400 years of African American history, the centennial of the 19th Amendment, and Hispanic Heritage Month.

Two people looking at the African American Civil War Memorial in the distance

"Twenty & Odd"

Reflect on 400 years of African American experience through the lens of our nation's iconic places in this short film.

Person holding a surfboard while standing in ocean waves, text reads

"Koa Talking to Me"

Follow Junior's love for one of the rarest and most threatened trees in the world that helps him stay connected to his Hawaiian heritage.

Two podcast covers for

19th Amendment Podcasts

Join Rosario Dawson and Retta as they discover often surprising stories of women’s suffrage. There’s a time-traveling story for kids, too!

Screenshot for video of

Suffrage in Sixty Seconds Video Series

One-minute videos highlight suffrage subjects and the heroes who made woman suffrage a reality—even after the passage of the 19th Amendment.

Word

Proud of Our Past, Embracing Our Future

National Park Service employees share their rich Hispanic and Latino cultural heritage and history.

Video preview image of an intern standing next to a visitor center entrance

The Legacies of Latino Homesteaders

NPS intern Verónica Barreto takes a closer look at the lives of Latino homesteaders and their important part in the American story.

Statue of Marines' hands holding up a US flag

Raising the Flag

Seventy-five years after an iconic photo capturing the spirit of the Marine Corps was taken, Marines share what their memorial means.

Ike's Deal

Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Audio Tour

Follow the life of Dwight D. Eisenhower as told through an audio tour of the newest national memorial in DC.

Backpacker looking at a mountain in the distance

"Camping With..."

National Park Service employees share their favorite camping experiences, pro tips, and even a favorite recipe to inspire others.

Pallid bat

Bats in Glen Canyon

The Outside Science (Inside Parks) series hopes to dispel myths about bats and tell their vital role to humans and the environment.

Silhouette of person against a lava eruption at night

Voices of Science

A podcast series takes listeners on an acoustic voyage connecting the natural and cultural worlds of Hawaii's national parks.

Hand lens on a field notebook

#sciencedeskdigs

What do scientists keep on their desks? Learn the stories about tools that scientists use to do their unique jobs.

National Park Foundation

The National Park Foundation (NPF), an official partner of the National Park Service, explored different ways people tell stories to interpret history, reflect on people's journeys, make personal connections, and share cultural heritage in national parks.

Line of people on the steps of a historic church

Celebrating Black History

A group of National Park Service filmmakers show what happens when stories are told by the people closest to them.

Group of people in hard hats next to a brick wall

Uncovering the Untold Stories

A partnership supports humanities scholars to uncover new insights into American history through research in national parks.

Park Ranger Elijah Prince standing next to his painting of a ranger

An Artistic Journey of a Park Ranger

Artist Elijah Prince talks about his art series depicting a woman “growing” through national parks and becoming a park ranger.

Megan Springate with the Washington Monument in the background

More than the Stuff of History

Megan Springate brings the stories of the women's suffrage movement and 19th Amendment to the forefront during centennial commemoration.

Historical photo of ranger talking to two kids

Illuminating Women's Histories

Two history interns hope to amplify women's voices and histories with parks through expanded storytelling.

Visitor sitting on a rock next to a canyon

Wisdom of Women Conservationists

The Women in Parks initiative shares quotes as part of its goal to unearth, elevate, and amplify women’s stories.

Ranger using a fire extinguisher on a roadway

Learn the ABCs

Go through the alphabet to learn some of the many job duties and roles that people can have as stewards of national parks.

Mississippi River lined with trees

Distance Learning on the Mississippi

A partnership has created an opportunity to provide online learning resources to young park enthusiasts and families to stay connected.

Steam engine train on a track

Trains of Thought

Two passionate railroad enthusiasts, a park ranger and a curator, connect history and heritage through railroads.

The 19th Amendment and Beyond

August 26, 2020, marked the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment of the US Constitution giving women the legal right to vote. In commemoration of the centennial, we are exploring the complex history involving Americans of all backgrounds fighting for and against women voting. Learn ways that storytelling through different means was used by the women’s suffragist movement and continues to be used today to tell their stories.

Sunflower

Symbols of the Suffrage Movement

Recognizable symbols were used throughout the women's suffrage movement to invoke a narrative.

Cat's face

Like Cats and Dogs

Cats and dogs were popularly used by contemporary cartoonists to tell people about perceived gender roles and women's suffrage.

Black and white historic photo of two suffragists on a balcony

Picturing Differences

Differences of opinion in the women's suffragist movement may have influenced use of photographs in media.

Telling LBGTQ History

October is LBGT History Month celebrating the successes and contributions of the LBGTQ community, as well as examining challenges it faced through history. Explore stories preserved in national parks and in communities through National Park Service programs and partnerships. Learn more about LBGTQ heritage.

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    Storytelling Staff

    Storytelling has been a part of the tradition of national parks since the beginning. Traditionally park rangers and guides shared knowledge of natural and cultural heritage to adventurous tourists and researchers exploring unique places that were set aside for future generations. Today National Park Service rangers strive to be leaders in interpretation using both traditional and innovative ways to connect people with America's treasures preserved in national parks and in their own backyards. Meet some of the storytellers of different career fields to learn about how share stories.

    Ranger holding a tortoise in the desert

    Women of the National Park Service

    A collection of stories highlights women employees, interns, and volunteers in a variety of career fields.

    Tahmoor Chadury standing outside

    Tales of Two Parks

    Tahmoor Chadury is spending his internship capturing employee stories showing the possibilities for everyone to be connected to parks.

    Biologist standing in a grass field

    Portraits of Acadia

    Yehyun Kim with the Friends of Acadia collect stories and images of park staff to give faces to the many stewards of the park.

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      Last updated: October 16, 2020