The National Park System: A National Scientific Asset

Friday, February 12, 2016: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Wilson B (Marriott Wardman Park)
Since the U.S. National Park System began in 1916, science has played an important role in conserving the country’s natural and cultural heritage—and national parks have been invaluable sites for scientific research. Parks represent extraordinary national scientific assets: as natural laboratories to study ecological processes, benchmarks to monitor and study climate change, and control locations for research from atmospheric chemistry to archeology. National parks fit within larger landscapes and seascapes of dynamic ecological change, and are valuable sites to advance our knowledge of coupled human-natural systems. In 2016, the National Park Service (NPS) celebrates its centennial, a significant milestone both for the American public and the scientific community. This symposium presents compelling new research being conducted in the national parks; demonstrates the importance of science in national parks from both a historical and contemporary perspective; and highlights the challenges and opportunities of conducting science in the second century of the NPS. Significant discussion time will allow for an active dialogue with symposium participants.
Gary Machlis, U.S. Department of the Interior Strategic Sciences Group
Megan F. McKenna, National Park Service
Megan F. McKenna, National Park Service