May Theme – America’s National ParksIn 1872 the United States Congress designated Yellowstone as America’s first national park. In the years that followed, Americans pushed for wilderness preservation and conservation to preserve these historical and pristine sites for all visitors. In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson established the National Park Service, and since that year, in good times and bad, the national parks have served as places of inspiration for all visitors.
Classes for the Month
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Since 1916, the National Park Service has been entrusted with the care of our national parks. During this class, we will explore the parks, the artists, the photographers, writers, and musicians who have helped us celebrate their beauty and their unique qualities.
Art has been part of the history of national parks since the 1870s when Hudson River School painters captured majestic Western landscapes. Today our parks contain all types of art, including prehistoric art, unique shapes, and structures carved by Mother Nature and human-made art by artists, writers, and musicians.
Rocks and minerals form the ground beneath your feet, the mountains that tower above you, and the canyons that stretch across the land. Studying rocks, fossils, and dinosaur bones can tell us about the history of our country and our planet and the animals that lived here millions of years ago.
Today the National Park Service manages over 400 sites that are important to all Americans. Many of the smaller parks educate us about our nation’s history, beginning with the Revolutionary War and the Battle at Gettysburg. Did you know that during World War II, a few of the larger parks conducted secret operations for the military?