¡Bienvenidos a bordo! or Welcome aboard! – greetings you will hear on the Homestead Trolley; a free winter weekend trolley service from Miami to nearby national parks, made possible through partnerships. The National Park Service announced today the recipients of the 2015 Director’s Partnership Awards, which recognize the most significant accomplishments achieved by parks and outside groups working together on projects, programs, and commemorative events that provide lasting benefits for parks and communities.

“Partnerships have been a vital part of the success of the National Park Service since its beginning,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.  “As we approach the Centennial of the National Park Service in 2016, exemplary partnership programs like these continue to open doors for everyone to Find Your Park, foster community involvement, and engage the next generation of stewards of the nation’s natural and cultural heritage.”

Throughout the country, there are more than 300 formal partnerships that support the National Park Service. Following are the recipients of this year’s awards:

Nationwide

  • The U.S. Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the National Park Service partnered, through the Department of Energy Clean Cities program, to reduce petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions in national parks.  Thirty projects were completed in 29 national parks.  Park visitors and employees can now use electric vehicles and shuttles and propane-powered mowers and trucks, charge electric vehicles, and learn about sustainability and conservation through education programs, outreach, and online resources and toolkits.
  • The Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the National Park Service, through the National Park Service Generating Organizational Advancement and Leadership Academy (GOAL) program, developed a partnership that has the potential to engage up to four million Boys & Girls Clubs of America members in recreational, educational, and developmental programs while introducing future generations of stewards to national parks nationwide.

Arizona

  • Mr. R. Brooks Jeffery has provided innovative leadership in the field of historic preservation and restoration.  The Missions Initiative and the University of Arizona Graduate Certificate in Heritage Conservation program have provided students with professional training in historic preservation and restoration and biennially brought together international, multi-disciplinary preservationists who complete, document, and disseminate traditional building techniques and research. They carried out historic preservation initiatives in 25 national parks including completing historic structures reports and strategic plans, historic research and documentation, and adobe preservation and structural stabilization.

Florida

  • The City of Homestead, Homestead Main Street, Inc., and the National Parks Conservation Association collaborated with Biscayne National Park and Everglades National Park to launch the Homestead Trolley, a free, winter-season, weekend trolley service that connects Homestead to the national parks.  Together they launched the new trolley service, planned routes to best showcase Homestead and the national parks, scheduled presentations on-route, and coordinated trolley schedules with park programs and activities.  Their award winning and extensive bilingual marketing campaign will continue to introduce visitors and local residents to South Florida’s national parks for years to come.

Texas

  • In 2007, the Archdiocese of San Antonio established Old Spanish Missions, Inc. to provide for the enduring care of the four mission churches within San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.  They began a $15.5 million campaign to restore San Juan Capistrano, Mission San José, Mission Concepción, and Mission Espada.  By 2015, the funds were raised and the stabilization and restoration (using nationally and internationally known conservators) was completed.

Washington, DC

  • On September 10, 2014, First Lady Michelle Obama, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, and the Chairman of the White House Historical Association Fred Ryan cut the ribbon at the opening of the newly renovated White House Visitor Center (WHVC).   The White House Historical Association’s $12.5 million donation funded the architectural planning, media production, exhibit design and fabrication, and the project management expertise.  Visitors can now learn about the history of the White House by viewing state of the art, interactive exhibits, up to 100 artifacts, a large scale model of the White House, and a film featuring personal stories from Presidents and First Ladies.
  • Through a partnership with the National Mall and Memorial Parks, the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District (BID) has invested in the maintenance, beautification, and landscaping of six national parks located in the BID.  They activated community artists to design and install public art and lighting projects and initiated programs and activities; all to create gathering places where people can connect, as a community, to the outdoors and to their national parks.

Wisconsin

  • Since 1958, the Ice Age Trail Alliance has united generations of volunteers, businesses, educational institutions, youth groups, organizations, and government agencies in the management of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.  Their programs engage youth and volunteers in outdoor activities, and service learning and training opportunities to foster leadership.