To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the National Park Service in 2016, National Geographic has launched a yearlong exploration of the power of parks, across all its platforms, to help people better understand the wonders and challenges of parks around the world. A Web portal, “Explore the Power of Parks,” dedicated to exploring how to preserve our wild places, will feature new content throughout the year and include the latest magazine stories and photos, travel guides with maps and tips from the experts, videos, photo galleries, educational resources and the ability to book authentic and meaningful travel experiences online. Natgeo.com/parks will aggregate content from a major series in National Geographic magazine that kicks off with the January 2016 issue and includes many digital-only features, videos, news stories and more.
The magazine series begins with an introduction by writer David Quammen on why a national park is more than just a scenic place — it is a nation’s common ground — and features powerful day-to-night imagery by photographer Stephen Wilkes. The issue also includes a feature article by Florence Williams that looks at how spending time in the natural world benefits the human brain. Other parks and topics in the series include Alaska’s Denali National Park, Seychelles, urban parks, a special single-topic issue on Yellowstone National Park in May 2016, Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Grand Canyon, Cuba’s coral reefs and a look at the next generation of park keepers.
For almost a century, the National Geographic Society has been raising the public’s awareness of the historical and cultural significance — and majestic beauty — of America’s national parks. The Society has consistently featured the national park system and specific national parks across all of its publications, television channels and expansive website. These features provide information and inspiration to individuals worldwide and educate Americans about the importance of protecting our nation’s heritage as represented by the national park system. National Geographic magazine, the Society’s flagship publication, devoted its entire July 1979 issue to U.S. national parks, and in October 2006, the magazine published a cover story on national parks throughout the world, including a special piece on the health of U.S. parks.
“One hundred years ago, the National Geographic Society helped persuade the U.S. government to create the National Park Service. Today, parks are more critical than ever to ensure the health and sustainability of our planet. They connect us with the natural world and inspire us all to be better stewards of our only home. Because we believe in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world, we’re harnessing our global content platforms to focus on the importance of these irreplaceable places,” says Chris Johns, chief content officer, National Geographic Society. “We want people to explore and experience the wonder of these protected places with us and through us, and support our efforts to understand and preserve them.”
National Geographic will round out the magazine and Web coverage throughout the year with other consumer touchpoints, including:
- National Geographic Books and Kids Books: Several new books published, including an updated edition of the best-selling “National Geographic Guide to National Parks of the United States, 8th Edition” (on sale Jan. 19, 2016) and “Yellowstone: A Journey Through America’s Park” by David Quammen (on sale August 2016). Kids books include the “National Geographic Kids National Parks Guide USA,” “Buddy Bison’s Yellowstone Adventure” and the “Junior Ranger Activity Book,” which is filled with puzzles, games and fun facts about national parks.
- National Geographic Kids magazine and website: The May 2016 issue will be devoted to national parks and an online content hub, natgeokids.com/parks, will feature My Shot kid photos, park profiles and a quiz.
- National Geographic Travel: Each issue of Traveler magazine will feature a national park and special digital content, including videos, showcasing many of the parks online.
- National Geographic Channel and National Geographic WILD: The National Geographic channels kicked off a yearlong celebration of the founding of our national parks with Wild Yellowstone, which premiered in December 2015 on Nat Geo WILD and won best cinematography and best editing at the Jackson Hole Film Festival. The channels will air multiple park specials throughout the year, starting with National Geographic Channel’s America’s National Parks: Evergladeson Sun., Jan. 24, at 8/7c and America’s National Parks: Gates of the Arctic on Sun., Jan. 31, at 8/7c. Both specials will encore on Nat Geo WILD Sun., Feb. 28, beginning at 8/7c.
- National Geographic Maps: Up-to-the-minute “National Parks Trails Illustrated” maps and new map guides.
- Experiences: BioBlitz two-day biodiversity-themed outdoor classroom/festival events in parks in all 50 states. Six regional events will take place in national parks the weekend of May 20-21, 2016, with the largest taking place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. NG Live! parks-themed public programs in Washington, D.C., and major markets.
- Expeditions: National park trips include a new Ultimate National Parks expedition to five legendary parks, expert-led trips to Yellowstone and Grand Teton as well as active Nat Geo Adventures, family expeditions and a student expedition.
- K-12 Education: The National Geographic Bee, taking place May 22-25, 2016, in Washington, D.C., will feature geography questions about U.S. national parks. The “Find Your Park, Love Your Park” educational initiative (NatGeoEd.org/LoveYourPark), developed with support from Subaru of America, teaches fourth graders across the United States about the importance of U.S. national parks and empowers students to preserve and protect them.
- Lifelong Education: “Wonders of Our National Parks” DVD/streaming lecture course on the geology of North America, created in partnership with The Great Courses.
- The Greatest American Road Trip: Follow former National Geographic staffer Jonathan Irish as he traverses the country visiting all 59 U.S. national parks in 52 weeks, starting on January 1, 2016. Find maps, photos, updates from the road and more at thegreatestroadtrip.com and http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/national-parks/.
About National Geographic Partners LLC
National Geographic Partners LLC, a joint venture between National Geographic Society and 21st Century Fox, combines National Geographic television channels with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic Studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, location-based entertainment, archival sales, catalog, licensing and e-commerce businesses. A portion of the proceeds from National Geographic Partners LLC will be used to fund science, exploration, conservation and education through significant ongoing contributions to the work of the National Geographic Society. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com and find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
Anna Kukelhaus Dynan
National Geographic Partners