A question for inclusion on the US Naturalization Exam regarding citizen ownership of national parks
Among America’s unique attributes is the genius of the American land preservation model- that the most beautiful and important American landscapes and cultural sites were set aside for the American citizen by preservation, in perpetuity, and in the common ownership. As the inheritors of this legacy, American citizens hold "the key" to the nation’s great symbols of freedom and democracy like the Washington Monument, the Statue of Liberty and the Grand Canyon. American Conservation Projects is leading an effort to ensure that information regarding citizen ownership of the national parks is included as part of the U.S. Citizenship exam, introducing new immigrants to the rights and responsibilities of American environmental stewardship. American Conservation Projects is working with individuals, government officials and non-profit organizations to advance this effort.
The Conservation Roundtable
The Conservation Roundtable is a gathering of CEOs representing leading hunting, fishing, and environmental organizations. The Roundtable is a collaboration in the spirit of John Burroughs, John Muir, and Theodore Roosevelt, who shared a commitment to the outdoors that outweighed their differing views on how best to safeguard it. Convened by Simon Roosevelt and Allison Whipple Rockefeller, Conservation Roundtable participants meet to consider and advance environmental conservation policy and action. Its creation was spurred by a belief in the need for sportsmen conservation groups and environmental organizations to collaborate more effectively.
The Roundtable’s participating organizations collectively represent ten million Americans, tens of millions of acres conserved and hundreds of years of conservation experience. Hosted by American Conservation Projects, the Conservation Roundtable Conferences are sponsored by The Rockefeller Brothers Fund and held at the Pocantico Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in Tarrytown, New York.
Currently, the Roundtable is working towards greater collaboration with and in the context of the current administration, especially given the current Secretary of the Interior's expressed interest in improving infrastructure as part of the National Parks' Centennial Challenge and increased public land access. Of particular interest to Roundtable members is improvement to National Forest management- promoting more active management of forests that produces better wildlife habitat, recreation and water quality and quantity.
The Conservation Roundtable published an open letter to President Obama, Speaker John Boehner, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Politico to encourage government “to find practical ways to make stewardship today more inclusive, concerted and effective.”
Past participants have included: Boone & Crockett Club, The Conservation Fund, Dallas Safari Club, Defenders of Wildlife, Ducks Unlimited, Environmental Defense Fund, The National Audubon Society, National Wild Turkey Federation, National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, Pheasants Forever, Trout Unlimited, The Wilderness Society, and The Wildlife Society.
Audubon’s Women in Conservation
American Conservation Projects works closely with Audubon New York to advance initiatives related to Audubon’s Women In Conservation, of which Allison Rockefeller is founder. The mission of Audubon’s Women in Conservation is to recognize the stature of women environmental leaders, inscribe their work on the historical record, promote women’s roles in the environmental movement and inspire girls and young women in environmental careers and activism. Over a century ago, four women activists were the first to establish the organization in order to take action against the wholesale slaughter of birds killed for the decorative use of their plumes for fashionable hats of the day. More than a hundred years later, The National Audubon Society is one of the oldest and most venerable environmental organizations in the world. In its mission to support environmental opportunities for girls and young women, Audubon’s Women in Conservation Program has developed a prominent internship program and hosts an annual educational school panel. The program also oversees Audubon’s Rachel Carson Award, a national award honoring American women whose work has greatly advanced conservation locally and globally. Allison Rockefeller serves as Founding Chair of the Rachel Carson Awards Council, and Simon Roosevelt serves as the Rachel Carson Award Men's Council Co-Chairman.
Rachel Carson Award
As mentioned above, the Audubon's Rachel Carson Award is a national award honoring American women whose work has greatly advanced conservation locally and globally. The Award was established in honor of Rachel Carson- a monumental figure in the 20th century and founder of the modern environmental movement. Alerting the public to the life-destroying dangers of indiscriminate pesticide use and fallout from nuclear testing, Rachel Carson’s international best-selling book, Silent Spring, forever changed the world and behavior of the chemical, agribusiness, and nuclear industries. Ultimately, her work resulted in the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency and later the ban of DDT. Rachel Carson remains a symbol that American women bring strength, courage, and conviction to the protection and care of all forms of life on Earth. Award Honorees receive the Rachel Carson Award Medal- an 18k gold pendant necklace with a cameo likeness of Rachel Carson designed and donated by Tiffany & Co.
Prior Award winners include Sally Jewell, Nell Newman, Dr. Sylvia Earle and Sigourney Weaver. For all recipients, visit HERE.
Watch inspiring awardees HERE.
New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
The New York State Park System is one of country’s great treasures. Established in 1885, today the system totals 214 State Parks and Historic Sites encompassing nearly 335,000 acres. These parks and historic sites provide affordable recreational and educational opportunities to more than 60 million visitors each year. Both Allison Rockefeller and Simon Roosevelt serve as Commission Members of New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation in the New York City Region.
Regional Commission Members are appointed to seven year terms by the Governor, are confirmed by the Senate and serve without compensations. Commission members serve as cultural advisors on all matters affecting parks, recreation and historic preservation within their respective regions. Commission members are responsible for the stewardship of the State Parks System as well as advancing a statewide parks, historic preservation and open space mission.
As Commission Members of the New York City Region, Rockefeller and Roosevelt help advocate for: Bayswater Point State Park (Far Rockaway), Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve (Staten Island), East River State Park (Brooklyn), Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park (Roosevelt Island), Gantry Plaza State Park (Long Island City), Riverbank State Park (Harlem), and Roberto Clemente State Park (Bronx). American Conservation Projects often hosts commission meetings, has helped advance the work of East River State Park and its Friends Group and helps to promote and support park visitation.
Allison Rockefeller’s Huffington Post article on New York City’s Riverbank Park can be accessed here.
Scenic Hudson Land Trust
Simon Roosevelt is Board Chair of the Scenic Hudson Land Trust, an accredited land trust focused on preserving lands and working farms in the Hudson Valley. The land trust is closely linked with Scenic Hudson, a nonprofit crusader for the Hudson Valley since 1963. Scenic Hudson is credited with saving fabled Storm King Mountain from a destructive industrial project and launching the modern grass-roots environmental movement. Today with over 25,000 ardent supporters, Scenic Hudson is the largest environmental group focused on the Hudson River Valley. Their team of experts combines land acquisition, support for agriculture, citizen-based advocacy and sophisticated planning tools to create environmentally healthy communities, champion smart economic growth, open up riverfronts to the public and preserve the valley's inspiring beauty and natural resources.
Allison is founder of Cornerstone Parks, the “Pumps-to-Parks Initiative”, a program designed to create a network of small parks and community centers from over 150,000 abandoned gas stations blighting towns across the United States.
Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation
Mr. Roosevelt is an active member of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF), which is one of the most respected and trusted sportsmen's organizations in the political arena. Since 1989, CSF has pursued its mission to work with Congress, governors, and state legislatures to protect and advance hunting, angling, recreation shooting and trapping.
Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument
Mr. Roosevelt is dedicated to one of the nation's newest National Monuments- Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, located in central Maine and protecting the lands and waterways that inspired Henry David Thoreau and Theodore Roosevelt. The mission of Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters is to preserve and protect the outstanding natural beauty, ecological vitality and distinctive cultural resources of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument and surrounding communities for the inspiration and enjoyment of all generations.