From “History Lesson” to “Crystal Clear” Call to Action activities are underway in our National Heritage Areas. Enjoy this sampling of current activities and visit a heritage area near you! Learn more at www.nps.gov/history/heritageareas.
Action Item 3 – History Lesson
MotorCities National Heritage Area (http://www.motorcities.org/)
Motor Cities NHA launched the “Making Tracks”, a web site featuring the accomplishments of African-Americans in the automotive Industry. Through this website visitors and members of the community can track the history and endeavors of the African-American community throughout the ages. Visitors can become educated regarding the automotive and labor heritage in Southeast Michigan through this interactive, educational web program.
Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area (http://www.freedomsfrontier.org/)
Brown V. Board of Education National Historic Site and Freedom Frontier NHA are partnering to serve at risk youth with the help of a $10,000 Impact Grant. Working with their partners, historic sites, re-enactors, and Topeka, Lawrence, and Greater Kansas City Boys & Girls Clubs, they will create a summer program for at-risk 4th-6th grade students involved with the Boys & Girls Clubs titled: Keeping the Dream Alive: Connecting Under Served Students to Local and National Struggles for Freedom.
This program will take these students on a journey from the Civil War to Civil Rights as they debate over extending slavery into Kansas, visit nationally significant places in Freedom’s Frontier, and learn how segregation ended while struggles for freedom and civil rights continue.
Looking for Lincoln National Heritage Area (http://lookingforlincoln.com/)
Abraham Lincoln NHA’s History Comes Alive program enhanced visitor experiences in Springfield during peak tourism season this past summer offered travelers a chance to immerse themselves in the Springfield Lincoln knew and loved and this will hopefully serve as a demonstration model for future living history programs in Springfield as well as throughout the ALNHA.
Visitors to Springfield enjoy a wide array of free interpretive experiences at multiple Lincoln historic sites. In addition, costumed interpreters hosted a variety of programs throughout the summer.
Action Item 5 – Parks for People
Schuylkill River National Heritage Area (http://www.schuylkillriver.org/)
The Schuylkill National Heritage Area in 2011 designed a new program called the Youth Heritage Treks. The purpose of the program was to introduce high school students to cycling along the Schuylkill River Trail and through the near national parks. The program engaged students from local school districts into several local events. The program will be implemented using bikes made available to students through the Schuylkill River Heritage Area’s free bike share program. The Youth Heritage Treks program enables the Heritage Area to introduce some of the area’s finest historical and recreational resources to students who might not otherwise have the opportunity.
Ohio and Erie National Heritage Canalway (http://www.ohioanderiecanalway.com/)
The Ohio and Erie NHA recently completed the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail in the city of Akron. On October 26th, The City of Akron, Metro Parks, Serving Summit County, Ohio & Erie Canalway, National Park Service and Members of Congress dedicated the Bartges Street section of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail and officially made The City of Akron a gateway city to Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The City of Akron Towpath Trail cost approximately $15,000,000 and was developed in partnership with private, local, state and federal funding. The City of Akron is the first major city along the Towpath Trail to be completed within its boundaries.
Action Item 10 – Arts Afire
Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area (http://www.riversofsteel.com/)
The Carrie Blast Furnace, a National Historic Landmark located in the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area is a wonderful example of the arts in practice. It offers a multitude of tours and programs, and is renowned in the work it does to highlight the US steel industry and its workers. It has been the backdrop for not only for many performances, but also the locale of a music video, movie filming, and the location of Pyrotopia- a festival featuring performers, artists, and educators displaying fire, light, and electricity to thousands of attendees.
The Rivers of Steel Heritage Corporation stabilized the Carrie Blast Furnace site, a National Historic Landmark, and offers tours and programs to highlight U.S. Steel site. Check out their Hard Hat Tour. The Corporation has also found creative ways to promote Pittsburg’s steel heritage, using industrial sites for the backdrop of performances, including Pyrotopia – a festival featuring performers, artists, artisans and educators displaying fire, light and electricity to over 3000 attendees.
Action Item 16 – Live & Learn
Essex National Heritage Area (http://www.essexheritage.org/)
Through an Essex National Heritage Commission partnership with Beverly Public Schools, the National Archives in Waltham, and Salem State University, Connecting Essex LINCs, a federally funded Teaching American History grant, has positioned teachers to be able to tell the stories of this unique region. Over the course of 28 workshops and 5 week long summer institutes, approximately 145 Essex County elementary teachers visited local historic sites and participated in “try-outs” of multi-level lessons. They in turn created approximately 300 activities with those resources.
Action Item 17 – Go Digital!
Augusta Canal National Heritage Area (http://www.augustacanal.com/)
Augusta’s 19th Century canal is using 21st Century smartphone technology to help tell its stories. The Augusta Canal National Heritage Area DigiTrail uses QR codes (square black and white boxes similar to UPC bar codes) to link smartphones (iPhone, Android and other 3G mobile phones) to specially created mobile web pages. By simply scanning the QR tag with their phone’s camera, users can open specially formatted webpages with information on the historic or natural feature. Fourteen small signs are placed at about half mile intervals along the canal’s towpath near notable structures. Others bring up information on the canal’s abundant wildlife. Users are able to pull up text, photos, maps and additional web links as they walk along. Plans call for video clips to be linked to the sites as well. An advantage of QR markers is that the content can be dynamic—it can be easily changed via the web at any time without having to redesign and replace expensive interpretive signs.
Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area (http://www.hallowedground.org/)
Of the Student, By the Student, For the Student™ – Service Learning Projects
The Of the Student, By the Student, For the Student™ Program is a nationally recognized, award-winning service learning program that offers students a full immersion in American history and heritage. Eighth grade students find themselves onsite at the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, bringing the stories of those who came before them to life in videos that they write, produce, shoot, and edit under the guidance of JTHG professionals. The resulting mini-movies, or Vodcasts, offer a permanent record of the students’ personal experiences and interpretations.
The pilot program was created and customized by the JTHG Partnership for Harpers Ferry Middle School students in conjunction with Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
Action Item 20 – Scholarly Pursuits
National Aviation Heritage Area (http://www.aviationheritagearea.org/)
The SOAR program, an educational, hands-on program of the National Aviation Heritage Area partner organizations, teaches underprivileged children in grades 3 through 12 about science, technology, engineering and math at the Dayton Air Show in Ohio. Educational activities are also provided by higher education institutions and local businesses striving to create a future workforce of scientists and engineers.
Action Item 37 – Crystal Clear
Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area (http://www.yumaheritage.com/)
Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area recently completed a cross border restoration of an area known as Hunter’s Hole. This restoration was part of an ongoing effort sponsored by Yuma Crossing, ProNatura Noroeste, Border Patrol, Sherriff’s Office, Bureau of Reclamation (both the area office and MSCP), Bureau of Land Management, and the Arizona Water Protection Fund.
The purpose of the restoration project was to design an area which would not only implement a wetlands restorations project but would also be able to put an end to some of the illegal activities which occur along the U.S./Mexico border. The action plan for renewal was originally proposed in 2008. The concept included clearing the area of vegetation, excavating a five mile trail, and planting native grasses and trees.
Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers Valley National Heritage Corridor (http://www.tlgv.org/)
Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers Valley National Heritage Corridor, known as The Last Green Valley, worked on multiple projects relating to protecting water quality within the region’s watersheds. The Last Green Valley Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program completed a successful fifth year with expanded programs thanks to many program partnerships. Last fall, working together with the CT Audubon Society Center at Pomfret, Citizen Science Program, volunteers collected nineteen Rapid Bioassessment samples from sixteen TLGV towns, including one sample from the Quinebaug River in Massachusetts. The voucher samples were submitted to the CT DEP and will be incorporated into their 2012 Biannual Water Quality Assessment Report to Congress. This fall, 25 new volunteers were trained to be involved with Rapid Bioassessment monitoring, including several teachers from area high schools. A special training session just for the members of Trout Unlimited Thames Valley Chapter was also arranged.