National Initiative Encourages People to Speak Up for America's Favorite Places
LOS ANGELES – On Saturday, April 18th, the start of National Park Week, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) will kick off its Find Your Voice initiative at Los Angeles’s Debs Park. The event, presented by NPCA in partnership with Audubon California and the Los Angeles Trade Technical College, will feature a hands-on service project for youth volunteers, an Earth Day fair with interactive exhibits, live music, and special discussions with State Senate Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, National Park Service leaders, and other community partners.
Through its Find Your Voice 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 celebration of the National Park System approaches in 2016.
“Our Find Your Voice initiative will help educate, engage and empower people to not only be national park visitors but also national park advocates,” said Clark Bunting, President and Chief Executive Officer of NPCA.
“Our work in Los Angeles has shown us just how much urban children and families treasure opportunities to connect with the natural world,” said Brigid McCormack, executive director of Audubon California. “Nature shouldn’t be something that is far away from where people live, but something close, in their own backyards and easy to access in their communities.”
California Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) will speak at the event about the importance of parks and his passion for creating open and recreational space. “Our parks are public treasures,” said de León. “They help make California the Golden State. We need to give parks their due recognition and start treating them like a priority.”
Youth and other volunteers at the Find Your Voice West Coast kick-off event will plant native species in the Rim of the Valley Corridor, an important area of natural beauty and cultural significance. NPCA, along with a diverse coalition of partners, is supporting the recently released National Park Service study of the region that would add important natural and cultural areas into Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. More than 17 million people live in the greater Los Angeles region, providing an incredible opportunity to connect people to wide-open spaces, waterways, and sites that tell of the story of Los Angeles’s past. The Rim of the Valley corridor also includes crucial habitat for wildlife ranging from mountain lion to the red-legged frog.
“Debs Park, within the Rim of the Valley corridor, is a perfect location to kick off our Find Your Voice initiative, as we encourage people to speak up in support of adding this and other diverse cultural sites, waterways, and landscapes to Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area,” said Dennis Arguelles, Los Angeles Program Manager of NPCA.
Across the country, an East Coast kick-off for Find Your Voice will take place in Biscayne and Everglades National Parks. Other activities will follow in Los Angeles and communities across the country this spring and summer, leading up to the start of the National Park System’s centennial year on August 25, 2015.
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.
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