Press Release Apr 17, 2015

National Find Your Voice Initiative Kicks off in Biscayne and Everglades National Parks to Inspire and Empower New Generation of National Park Advocates

NPCA launches #FindYourVoice initiative to celebrate the National Park System centennial.

Homestead, FL – On Saturday, April 18th, the start of National Park Week, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) will kick off its national Find Your Voice initiative in South Florida at Biscayne and Everglades national parks from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Through this initiative, NPCA is working to inspire the next generation of park advocates to speak up for America’s favorite places—an especially timely goal as the centennial of the creation of the National Park System approaches in 2016.

“We continue to build upon earlier efforts in South Florida to strengthen connections with our communities and broadening partnerships in support of our region’s amazing national parks,” said Jacqueline Crucet, Program Analyst for the National Parks Conservation Association. “With three national parks in our own backyard, we are connecting more and more people to these treasured places, so they can enjoy them and speak up for their protection.”

The day-long Find Your Voice activities start with the gateway City of Homestead’s free national parks trolley to Biscayne National Park where visitors can join students from Mahogany Youth for fishing lessons, ranger-led shoreline walks, and boat tours into Biscayne Bay. Through the work of NPCA’s youth advocates program, the state legislature is now considering the creation of a Lancelot Jones Day to honor the legendary African American fishing guide and farmer that helped create Biscayne National Park. A Jones reenactor will great participants and share stories about his impact on the park and the state. Find Your Voice activities will continue on to Everglades National Park’s Anhinga Trail where visitors can watch native wildlife while learning about efforts to restore this area.

The National Parks Conservation Association, along with many of our partners like the City of Homestead, are already working to better connect and inspire young, diverse communities to their nearby national parks. Together, work will continue to protect park resources like South Florida’s invaluable coral reef habitat – where Biscayne is home to part of the third largest barrier reef track in the world – and continuing to lead efforts to fully restore America’s Everglades by sending the water south back to Everglades National Park and Florida Bay.

“The Find Your Voice campaign is a great way to get people involved with their national parks,” said Homestead Vice-Mayor Stephen R. Shelley. “NPCA was instrumental in establishing the Homestead National Parks Trolley and I can’t wait to see what this newest campaign brings. As the Gateway to Everglades and Biscayne National Parks, the City of Homestead has always been committed to getting residents and visitors out in nature to see what South Florida is really all about.”

Saturday’s activities will kick off one of 10 signature #FindYourVoice events across the country through the spring and summer, leading up to the start of the National Park System’s centennial year on August 25. These will include advocacy trainings, volunteer and clean up events in or near some of America’s most beautiful places. Join the movement and follow the conversation online with #FindYourVoice. The Find Your Voice initiative will expand over the course of the next five years, reaching its peak in 2019 when NPCA celebrates its own 100th anniversary.

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About National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.