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At the dawn of the second century for the US National Park Service and Acadia National Park, the opportunity exists to more powerfully engage science for the benefit of parks and society. More than 400 parks in the US national park system attract more than 300 million visits annually. These parks provide a remarkable platform for public engagement in science.

Second Century Stewardship: Science for America’s National Parks aims to:

  • Advance conservation science and provide science that informs stewardship of natural and cultural resources by expanding scientific research programs in parks;
  • Strengthen and broaden public understanding of the value of parks for science and science for parks and society by building on the positive public perception of national parks;
  • Enhance science understanding and appreciation among the public by leveraging park science for education and public outreach.

A collaboration between the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Schoodic Institute, and National Park Service will create opportunities to advance science and inspire audiences of all ages. Inviting visitors and others to view national parks through a “science lens” and providing authentic learning experiences both in and out of the park will enhance understanding and appreciation of science.

Engaging the public in science is rapidly advancing research of great importance as we face complex challenges in a changing environment. At the same time, opportunities to learn about the threats park ecosystems face—and the science that is helping to address them—inspire visitors and others to be effective stewards of the national parks and motivate conservation action.