Celebrating America's National Parks

ABC New's Liz Stark takes you on a tour of the National Museum of Natural History's latest exhibit "100 Years of America's National Park Service: Preserve, Enjoy, Inspire.", celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.
25:26 | 08/04/16

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Transcript for Celebrating America's National Parks
It's let's start here for ABC news live. We're here at the National Museum of Natural History. For the 100 anniversary of the National Park Service to celebrate the Centennial there's a new exhibit today. Called 100 years of America's National Park Service preserve enjoying inspire. We're here for a sneak peek of the exhibit before it officially opens to the public leader today. I'm joined by Alexis eats from the National Park Service and Sally love from museum thank you both for being here. So just to kick things off Alexa tell us a little bit more about the National Park Service and what this exhibit is all about. She said it's the anniversary and we are super excited to be reaction to sing the national park system to. Auto accidents this is evidence just one example poplar inviting everyone to the discover these places and find their part and it's going to be a great year for us. And Sally tells a little bit more about the connection between the Smithsonian institute and the National Park Service police this has been a great opportunity for us team to. Highlight the collaboration between the park service and natural history museum Smithsonian as well. A we've been collaborating since its inception. We. Collected artifacts we've studied it made surveys on park service lands. And these this information that we bring back helps us understand these places more and helps us protect. And and show off the beauty of these places and that's what we are so excited to be able to show it with this exhibit this photo exhibit. This and you can see the broad diversity of the different types of parks and the heritage sites that the recreational sites. And that the nature sites and so. We're this is an an instrumental collaboration and partnership for over a hundred years. Let's this. That features happy for parks all across the country we talked a little bit more about the diversity but it's the part that we'll be seeing inside. Have silly so we have collected over sixty images from award winning photographers. And the images really as Sally said. Illustrate the diversity of the national park system. The national parks include national monuments lake shore C issuers. Under water resources recreation areas trails. It's really is so much more than many people realize. And it's at the way it's right in your backyard so we're excited to be a bishop keeps. It's for the Centennial hundred incidents a hundred years yes absolutely. There were actually national parks before there was a national parks system. National Park Service. But. You know we've grown and we want to make sure that the next generation discovers these placements. Says Sally we will check back in on the team leader and let's. Check nothing definite granite. So. Things written about this exhibit is that it's arranged based on geographic region so right now we honor. Here's we're gonna start with Hawaii both and he tells a little bit more about this national park. Absolutely well Hawaii obviously want in this beautiful state it's in an our country actually has several national parks and many people now Hawaii volcanoes but they don't know that there's actually cultural sites. In the National Park Service in Hawaii as well let's that this is a site and I'm gonna say the names voted because it's it's a challenge it's. Well well well. Now now. This site is actually. A place of refuge a cultural ancestral players that was for protection. And it's part of the national parks and assistant and polite it's one of great treasures the people don't realize. So it's not just all about hurricane season also received some of the other landscapes that are protected by the national park addresses a answer me. We want this day. Into the Pacific. West. So. Here in the Pacific restaurant had a number really beautiful places rain forests cultural sites. Mere words the site of some of the tallest trees and the world. But I thought I would quite two book in there's actually two sites that are on display here next to each other. That. The section one of the oldest National Park Service sites so that this is yet sanity. National park an iconic image by Stan Standridge that too is one of the photographers. Featured heavily in this exhibit. This is have to outfits relatively well and then seeing from Yosemite Yosemite was actually set aside. And protected by president Lincoln during the civil war. As if state. Park earlier than many many others in the system. Out next to that and I think this is there Riddick the way to understand the breadth of the system is an image. From one of the most recent national park services says our shot essence home the pods. In California. The Cesar Chavez national monument. Actually helps tell the story of that fight for equal rights. And the story of United Farm Workers. Who came together to really. Articulated for equal wages and fair working conditions so. This or both parts of the national park system of the oldest and one of the newest and what I love about this exhibit is that it actually bring with these stories together. Right it puts them in conversation with one another and I'm absolutely. OK so this was the Pacific west and now we're going to move on. To Alaska. Hear the people. Civic and about the terrorist and obviously Alaska has a number ever really stunning national parks the largest national park in this system. There's actually Rangel say OYS which is the image of a bottom here at the top U. The brown bears. There and Brooke false Brooke causes my the most famous places to actually see brown bears catching salmon. Now I know this sites in Alaska are sometimes. Pretty far away and hard to get to you so. I you can actually go on our web sites and watch the bears are now alive what can't we have webcams strapped national park system so. He's a great opportunity to actually see these places. Online even if you can't get there in person. This is an image Denali which is they tallest peak in North America stands of ever 20000 feet. It's a great example again of one of students are set to beautiful images but also is one of those iconic. Places that you think about in the national park system and and that Alaska's are really exciting place you have to explain his. Place it. Could see said that this is long life stream right aside I'm standing there watching right now than when you're done watching this live stream you can check out. The live stream. From that national park great there. As we move on just for viewers tuning in right now we are acting National Museum of Natural History. For a new exhibit that's opening today to celebrate the 100 anniversary of the National Park Service. So. The exhibit is serious based on geography is an hour in the southwest. And rocky tell us about the photos here. Well these two images are big bend national park in Texas and mesa verde national park. Mesa verde is also one of the earliest sites that was preserved. In the national park system is preserved by presidential act by theater Roosevelt in nineteen six. It's. Sight of over 600. Cliff dwellings from ancient Pueblo Indians that's a great example of how. Protection for these places was. Really important to ensure that they were not. You know picked apart by scavengers. And become commercial opportunities so it's an example of so those are the protection. Big bend national park how the just mentioned. Is actually. Specially designated international. Dark sky park. So it's one of the places around the world where you can best see the stars. And that's really important there are many many children in this country who never seen enough anyway. You know parents are having his place is set aside regularly experience something like that it's and particularly important and unique. And all of this is protected by the National Park Service death. And look at beads and step up. He talked about since this is an image of dolls theater at Carlsbad cavern. Carlsbad caverns national park is just one. Half a dozen underground caves that you can explore a national park system. There when caved QOK of mammoth game. Or making kids they're really cool experience and it's another great example of people don't realize the breadth of the national park system that set aside for them so. Really doesn't see something like this evidence that bad. Go exploring as a maintenance and so over here we have. Another photo exhibit but this is from people who've actually visited the sites. That's. All looking one of the things that I love about this exhibit is that it contains a collection of images that really. More historic and present day photographers. But it also contains this digital display of images that the public that visitors to national parks and actually shared with us on line. So if you go to find a park that Connor used the hash tags. Find your part you can share your images with the rest of the world and was selected from some of those images and included them in the exhibit to. Really show how these places are enjoyed and loved and explored by so many people across the room we have. 307 million visitors every year so. It's a lot of fun and wanted to shift some of that. And also showcases the diversity once again absolutely expects parks but families all across the country and around the world can still enjoy for the and that's an if you go on CU's social media cash check find your part you can see more images. National parks like these. The now we are in the northeast. And this looks familiar. Thinking I think right here in Washington DC. Yes national models also one of the earliest parts average set aside in the federal system in Washington DC of course is a federal city. And so much of the park land here is managed by the National Park Service. As you step outside the door today from the natural history museum stepped into the national park on the National Mall. We have 25 land visitors to this area allow. And that of course this is a wonderful image by Carroll hired Smith from. One of the annual Independence Day celebrations. Right here in the nation's capital that the national parks Christmas every. So for local DC residents and people visiting the capitol can actually find. National parks wherever they go for president. And so here we have the home of Frederick Douglas this is one of the historical sites that's protected by National Park Service. Yes this is cedar help so Frederick Douglass was former slave who became an internationally known. Abbott hit an abolitionist. And a friend and advisor to president Lincoln his home. Is preserved as part of the national park system right Harry you C. Which of course is adjacent to many states that we have about that president Lincoln's story. The Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall as one and then every from the collection that's. At Ford's theater which is the site where presently can. Was shot and died this is his coat that he was wearing that night that he was shot so. This collection of images really gives you a sense the stories that are told old. In news sites and cover later they are Har Har American story is all related. And next to that image is Arlington house which was the home of Robert. And what's the civil war began and Robert Avery became a general for the south. His home is now preserved but the site runners home became a cemetery for the union. Many of the civil war dead. Obviously buried there so we have sort of a collection of images here that television or weaving that the stories together. As a real historical legacy to it as well and just coming back to the coat. He can Siri here it's as one country one destiny that's been preserved for all of these years from the time of Lincoln that's really really incredible. Become here you. So also agent just a couple of hours outside of Washington DC is new river gorge national river and West Virginia and seriously a national park ranger who's actually attacked a peregrine falcon. That's part of the work that we do have saudis said much like museum to better understand the natural world. And help preserve and protect these places. Me thinks so moving on. There are now. Making our way across the country if we've compressed feet that you have this bridge. Test so the Edmund pettis bridge in Alabama. Is the site of one of the bloodiest days in. The fight for civil rights in 1965 that was a clash between marchers and the local law enforcement and the images from that person today. Helped spur and create a turning point in the civil rights movement. He had missed Edmund pettis bridge. Is part of that some out of Montgomery national historic trial which is one of nineteen. National historic trails that the National Park Service helps manage. To tell this stores across the country is our. Stories that are just contained in one place there about our movement our past our journey. The trail of tears. The Oregon trail Lewis and Clark trail someone in Montgomery whose stories are. Are told by the national park. Simpson's well. And can still walk these trails if you walk across the bridge you can feel like history is really coming to light. Absolutely. President bomb. Was there at just last year rock to constipation the fiftieth anniversary. Incredible. Soon. So the southeast part of the country. Also very very diverse collection. National Park Service sites. This is an image from Vicksburg national military park it's just one example of the many battlefields. From the American civil war. The wreck revolution in the civil war that are preserved as part of the National Park Service. System and is our stories that really reflect. Much like Edmund pettis bridge different times are street Louis tied to get just painful. Threat. And now making her way some under water parks. Tells. About this but again much like occasionally an attic Specter realize that there are under water parks across the country. Along our coast alliance these are two parks in Florida on the top U. Tracked her to this national park and in the bottom. This gain national park. And you can see in the images staff from our under water resources division working to document preserved. The resources news places whether it's called roots are other cultural. Artifacts and on the top. Expect her to it is to have a young man has actually with the National Park Service that as part of an underwater explorer junior ranger programs they can. Guy out there ranger tours or to speak richer underwater. Which is a lot of fun and really exciting it's another way to really connect with the national parks near Newton. And tracked her two kids national park which is about eighty miles off the coast of Florida is actually has allowed to fort Jefferson. Which is a principal were Ford's timing couldn't dragged her to pay as you will see the water slowly rise and around Port Jefferson south it's also a great way to understand that our national parks can begin indicators for the change. And the National Park Service is having to work to her that we stand how to adapt to that climate change to present this place. It's for. So the National Park Service kind of taking the steps to preserve these these parts from the effects of climate change where we're doing. Better understanding of what it would take and how to how to adapt to it because truthfully glad cramped into the global issue and it's not something we can. In packer shipped just within a park but we can study it and we can learn from it and share that science to better understand how the world can. Better address. So has a real impact on the world around absolutely. So we are almost at the end of our tour around. The country but now we are at the intermountain region. And this is one of the let's leave the ice and heat is our. Bison us and me valley you have of Yellowstone National Park where have. They must iconic places in the world and the first national park in this system. I think. When we talk about the National Park Service and many people have Yellowstone and Grand Canyon in their minds and that's understandable this puts us or set aside. For there are inspiring and really me is there and geologic and natural features but of course that kind of bison with that was an interesting mix let's be having a highlight. The parks and natural outlet within them. The some really iconic landscapes sinking. And as we close out this portion of the tour see we have a giant map of the entire national park system. Yet. That ethic more wouldn't well. The spartans up most of about realize that there aren't average stands an average territory so there's one closer than you think. And what I love about this map is is that we're putting together the exhibit with the Smithsonian we used they must up to date map that we had available. But actually it highlights the fact that this isn't that dynamic system. Because just last month. We added a new national park to the system stone wall national monument in New York City. Which documents. And helps tell the story he. Fight for civil rights for the allegedly T keen community. So. The storm is still being written and the National Park Service pleasant Rowland hoping to tell that story. So as the years go on they'll be more. National parks act. And you can see it right here in Washington DC there bunch of national. Locations around so. Anywhere you go across the country can find a national park near you. Alexa thank you so much for joining us and project. Before we and our lives stream of the 100 anniversary celebration. Coming back to Sally love over here he's going to share with us some facts about artifacts that were collected. From me. Different national parks across the country so it's a way of kind of bringing these photographs that we've seen. Bringing them to life. We even really fortunate. Election. Com and this is at it this is just a very small. Snippet of that the number of collections that we have. And I might start with these two. A mineral specimens in the back when as a geyser right Amazon and city end. And they were collected in land. That fruit is that eventually became the Yellowstone National Park. And Nate the Smithsonian people. Took a survey they they've collected these things they sent them back to Washington to the Smithsonian and they were. They were crucial in helping convince congress that the land around Yellowstone. Was not able to be developed or are farmed or anything else so it needed to be set aside. Four in it's just natural splendor and beauty so and 1872 it became the first national park first park and end in. Him sit they preserve. Landis added that they set aside. Because of those two rocks basically that's what kind of start of this entire thing it goes to chuck didn't but write a whole collection. That helped convince congress that. This man needed to step aside. And I seen this abuse those are b.'s we have a collection fees and either. End to these are just as. A small fraction of the number of of specimens that have been collected in this very small island in the Potomac River. Right here only only a few miles away it's a twelve acre island. And it is the most studied island in the US and its there there are no people living there is as it was in a in from the beginning. And there it since 1901 there's a group of biologists that has decided to. His catalog every species of flora and fauna that live on that I'm so that they have a really good idea of what. Was here and what is here. And in 1961. Congress transferred the island over to the park service. And the park service has been working in collaboration with the Smithsonian and with the Washington biologists fuel club members. To protect and preserve and do it they can to. To help catalog every single species on that side and huge and ever it's a huge endeavor but. I think they really liked it hippies they like going out there and and clicking on these things. We have so far 300. Be species 3000. In six species and an. A ton of of Florida. Fitted just one more thing Nightline to highlight over here said this. Looks like a fossil. This is 3-D. Scanned the model we have a dire wolf fossil skull that was found in. In the Carlsbad caverns and it's probably. About 151000 years old it was. It came from the very end of the ice age that ended the place to seen. And it was collected in 1976. And it had this poor thing had fallen into a crevice and died at the bottom of this this hit. End only to be found. Millennia later in 1976. In the it sort of gave a better idea of the types of animals that live there and musk ox. The higher wolf it was a whole different. The rate of of animal species that lived. In the Carlsbad caverns area at that time so this is a model of it that. I actually printed here it was printed here. With our it it exhibits. Central office and we did a 380 scanned and we have a 380. Maker treatment maker ended and so we wanted something tactile. I wanted to be able to show and in some in we also have this captured as a treaty manipulative bull. Com web image so you can go on them on the web site and and turn it around. Get back and forth and so did this it gives us so much more information about the specimen that is accessible to every. And it also shows kind of this longstanding relationship between the national park services and the Smithsonian and that's something they're really want to highlight our. Final moments of OK live stream so tell us a little bit about this legacy in this partnership between Smithsonian. Well we've done it in the past and we continued today we look forward to doing more in the future but you know we we help them with the surveys of the floor and fun we help them protect sites we have what photograph of me here of a Vicksburg. Our forensic anthropologist. Who worked with her excerpts when they find something you call on them. And they will help identify the skeletal remains and and in others other objects that are found. Near these battlefield sites in so the it's just a long standing. Collaboration and partnership and it really helps to protect these sites and help us understand more about them. I'll tell you think you so much fear for joining us and we are here at the national history museum for the 100 anniversary of the National Park Service. If you go on to hash tag find your park on social media you can learn more about the National Park Service. And these national parks all across the country so for ABC news live I'm Lynn stark we'll see you next time.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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