Happy 100th Birthday! No, this is not to a person turning that age, but rather the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) which will celebrate its centennial anniversary on August 25, 2016. The organization’s ten decades have been invaluable to this country and important in preserving the environment and our country’s history while providing careers for individuals.
One of the NPS’s main focuses is preserving the environment. Many animals, such as the American bison, have at times almost gone extinct. But thanks to the actions of groups such as the NPS, these animals continue to not only exist but live in a natural environment. Yellowstone National Park is an excellent example. Even ancient history has been preserved by the NPS at parks such as Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park. There, fossils of trees look as if they had just been cut down and the limbs removed. It is wonderful that the NPS preserves the environment for future generations to enjoy.
The NPS also works to preserve history in many different forms. Mesa Verde National Park features the areas where Ancestral Pueblo once lived, and Shiloh National Military Park commemorates a bloody battle of the American Civil War. NPS employees also work to preserve historical artifacts used at sites and museums. These include artwork that shows the first 100 years of the organization and the sites the NPS safeguards. Through preserving sites and artifacts, the NPS helps to preserve the stories of the people who lived in the past.
Also, the NPS provides careers for individuals. A person who loves caring for animals would have a chance to take care of wildlife that very few people get to handle. People who love history can help preserve it for future generations. Also, anybody who enjoys presenting information, whether it be about the environment or about history, could work as a tour guide or a ranger.
Oklahoma has its share of NPS sites. The Washita Battlefield National Historic Site is about 70 miles northwest of SWOSU.
Interested in visiting or working at a national park? Start with a visit to the National Park Service book display located in the Al Harris Library where you can check out books to aid you in making a decision.
Enjoy the birthday celebration by visiting a park or reading about the various locations around the country. For online information concerning the National Park Service, visit https://www.nps.gov/index.htm .