David Evans Shaw on 25 June announced the launch of a “Second Century Stewardship “ initiative for U.S. national parks, including a feature-length film and a collaborative effort to more powerfully engage science in America’s national parks.
Shaw expressed his intent to provide a gift of $1 million as initial funding for collaborative programs between the National Park Service, Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park, AAAS, and other institutions.
The announcement by Shaw took place during a public Park Science Day at Sieur de Monts in Acadia National Park, Maine. The event was organized to highlight the park’s role as a living laboratory and vital setting for scientific research, in celebration of Acadia’s Centennial.
Shaw is a Maine-based entrepreneur involved in numerous business and public service ventures. He serves as a director and Treasurer of AAAS, as a trustee of The National Park Foundation, and as Executive Producer of the film “Second Century.” The film premiered at the Acadia National Park event.
In announcing his plan, Shaw paid tribute to the historic significance of the 2016 centennial of The National Park Service, and the remarkable evolution of science over the past century. “Teddy Roosevelt reflected the sentiment of many Americans when he said this about our national parks: `We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received.’ The national park system, including more than 400 parks and monuments, attracts more than 300 million visits annually. It is a blessing to Americans and the world. Modern science provides us with unprecedented ability to be wise stewards of these special places and cultural treasures, for the benefit of future generations. And parks offer exceptional opportunities for important scientific research and inspirational education.”
The Second Century collaboration will initially focus on science issues associated with Acadia National Park, with the intention of scaling nationally over time, Shaw said. The initiative will offer fellowships for park-based investigations and connect the scientists and their research with educators, students, and the public to support science understanding, appreciation of the natural world, and park stewardship both locally and nationally.
Acadia National Park Superintendent Kevin Schneider applauded the effort. “We are very grateful for David Shaw's leadership in making science a centerpiece of our centennial. Our National Parks have always been perceived as a place for recreation, but now we need to communicate to the public that parks are places for science, a place to inform science literacy in our nation. This partnership with Schoodic Institute and AAAS will allow us to do just that.”
Rush Holt, AAAS CEO, also commended the partnership: “David Shaw’s gift will create an unprecedented partnership that will not only open up new opportunities for science in the national parks,” said Holt, who also serves as executive publisher of the Science family of journals. “It will also inspire people to take better care of our planet as they learn about the challenges facing park ecosystems and get excited about the science that will help protect them—and the role that each individual can play.”
Matthew Scott, president of the Carnegie Institution for Science, attended the 25 June event, expressed enthusiasm for the project, and pledged to help add value to the project, locally at Acadia, and nationally.
About the collaborators
Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park is a close nonprofit partner to the NPS that is dedicated to advancing ecosystem science and learning for all ages. The Institute helps the NPS achieve the original vision for Acadia as a destination for science and inspiration.
About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 411 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice. The National Park Service will celebrate its centennial in 2016 and is using this opportunity to invite a new generation of Americans, and those who already know and love the parks, to discover what national parks and other public lands mean to them through the Find Your Park campaign. To learn more or get involved, visit www.FindYourPark.com.
The Carnegie Institution for Science is a private, nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., with six research departments throughout the United States. Since its founding in 1902, the Carnegie Institution has been a pioneering force in basic scientific research. Carnegie scientists are leaders in plant biology, developmental biology, astronomy, materials science, global ecology, and Earth and planetary science.