Deputy Director for Communications and Community Assistance Mickey Fearn recently visited several parks in Massachusetts to see the strides being made to involve youth in NPS projects and programs.
On Thursday, March 25th, he picked up a paintbrush and joined youth from Groundwork Somerville who are working alongside NPS craftsmen to rehabilitate the historic John Nelson house and barn at Minute Man NHP. This work was made possible by the American Recovery and Investment Act (ARRA). When complete, these structures will be used for visitor and educational programs and activities.
Groundwork USA works with the NPS to provide educational and work opportunities for young people so they will appreciate the natural and cultural resources of the parks. ARRA funding will also provide work for a community crew from the Student Conservation Association who will work alongside Groundwork Somerville youth to restore historic agricultural fields and stone walls. The Student Conservation Association has a 41 year history of working at Minute Man.
Fearn spoke to the youth and NPS staff about the importance of connecting all people to the benefits of parks. He said that places like Minute Man that represent our cultural heritage and where sacrifices were made for our country are important and should be appreciated by people of all ages and backgrounds. He noted that the current NPS administration will explore connections and develop new ideas with our partners to make parks more inclusive for both visitors and employees.