This year the National Parks is celebrating the Centennial of the Parks. Launching a series of events to spread the #EncuentraTuParque movement across the country. Sharing a unique experience at every stop. I was delighted to hear the first city on the list was Austin! Each event has a unique experience aimed to bring one specific National Park to the public. The event hosted at the University of Texas in Austin. Connect the public with the Red Woods National and State Parks. There was a interactive piece that captured the human figure. Turning the human figure into a Red Wood tree which was then projected onto the UT tower! As you swayed left or right the tree moved with you and it was such neat experience.
I was invited by the National Parks to host a Instameet. To invite members of the IgAustinTexas community to join in on the event to connect with the National Parks. The team and I organized a meet that brought out folks to enjoy an evening of exploration and National Park fun. We had the opportunity hear more about the movement and to meet two Park Rangers. Ranger Michael and Chelsea were so passionate about their contributions to the parks. Sharing how they found their park and the roles they have within the National Park Service. It's always so inspiring to hear the dedication and passion behind every Park Ranger. We checked out the interactive pieces and made our way through the campus. Taking photos and catching up with old peeps. We concluded the meet by joining the evening event. We all gathered and heard from guest speakers and National Park Service officials as they shared the mission of the National Parks. The meet wrapped up as we enjoyed the projection on the Tower.
The National Parks have played a big role in my life. This past year I was granted the opportunity to be part of the Find Your Park Expedition. The expedition brought together eight social media influencers from across the country. For a week long journey through the state of Colorado. The first of two National Parks we visited was the Great Sand Dunes National Park. In which we spent two days. We had the opportunity to hike the Great Sand Dunes and took part in the Rangers evening star scape program. For a person who's always lived in urban areas this was such a great experience! I stood there in complete aw as the Milky Way covered and expanded as far as my eyes could see. This park also happens to be one of the quietest in the nation which made it even more impactful. It was a serene moment. The second part of our trip took place at Mesa Verde National Park. Everyday was filled with excitement as we got to meet Park Rangers and staff. Listened to their own personal stories about how they arrived at the parks. We experience the remains of the Ancestral Pueblo People’s buildings. Buildings which once housed many families and are still standing today. If y’all are ever in Colorado both of these parks are great places to visit. To become immersed in the beauty of the National Parks.
The main goal of the expedition was to reach a wider audience. We as Millenials are the next generation and its up to us to become involved and to seek these places. Through our different social media outlets we were able to connect with our audience. Bringing the #EncuentraTuParque movement to them. Through the use of visual imagery and written content we were able to inform others. As an Immigrant and member of a minority group. The #EncuentraTuParque movement has shaped how I see myself and this country that I now call home. Growing up I have always struggled with with my identity. My roots are in Mexico, but I've spent twenty-three of my twenty-five years of life in America. The movement brought me closer to this land and demonstrated that even though I may not be white. This land is for everyone. With America changing its up to us to become more involved and to spread the movement. Not just my Latino peers but to any person of color that has yet to find their park.
I want to give a special thank you to our community members that were able to join us. Big shout out to the National Parks Foundation for doing all the great work they do. For reaching out and allowing me and my team be part of the #EncuentraTuParque movement. I want to challenge you all to go out and find your park and to share your experience with your friends. Trust me once you visit a National Park you will have tons of stories to share. Stories to help inspire others to join the movement. Until next time peeps!