If you had asked me two months ago what I envisioned when I heard someone say “National Parks Service,” I probably would have responded by describing rolling mountain ranges, cascading waters, and towering trees. Or maybe I would have listed remote places like the Grand Canyon, Arches, or Yellowstone. Needless to say, even as a lifelong Massachusetts resident, I was surprised to learn about the presence of the National Parks Service in an urban place like Boston.
Though unexpected, the existence of the National Historical Parks in Boston is equally as important as those parks listed above, as the historic locations in Massachusetts are dedicated to teaching the public about history, how it relates to and impacts today’s culture, and how our understanding of history can be used to encourage justice.
Since April, I have been working as an intern with the National Parks of Boston in their Education, Youth, and Volunteer Engagement (EYVE) office, which is located at the historic Charlestown Navy Yard. This office does many things, but its main goal is in its name – to help young people and volunteers engage in meaningful ways with the history of the city. My job this summer is to help lead Storytellers in Parks, a youth employment program that allows high schoolers to learn about the parks and sites around Boston, and how they can use digital art in ways that help community members connect with the history.
With a new understanding of what a National Park can be, I am excited for the summer to get underway. I am especially eager to support young people in learning more about the history of Boston, figure out where they find meaning in the parks we visit, and how they creatively express themselves with the goal of teaching others.
Agency: National Park Service
Program: Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Program (COR)
Location: National Parks of Boston