Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers, volunteers, and park partners came together to bring the Smokies to Latino communities of Knoxville during National Hispanic Heritage Month with the Encuentre Su Parque (Find Your Park) event on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016. Over 100 participants from Latino communities throughout Knoxville attended the event held at Sugarlands Visitor Center where attendees were able to learn about the park in Spanish.
The event introduced the world-renowned resources of Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Latino community members, many of who were visiting a national park for their first time. Se Encuentre Su Parque (Find Your Park) participants were invited to make old-time toys, learn about animals of the Smokies, search for terrestrial invertebrates, explore the visitor center, hike to Cataract Falls, and find out how to “Leave No Trace” while visiting the park. Thirty-six children became Junior Rangers and earned their badges during the event.
“The success of this event was one small step in helping the park better engage with a diversity of park audiences to share the amazing resources and stories of the Smokies,” said Acting Education Branch Chief Joy Absher. “The event fostered a connection to our national parks which will hopefully inspire some of those new Junior Rangers to become life-long park stewards.”
The Encuentre Su Parque (Find Your Park) event is one of several events held this year to commemorate the 100th Birthday of the National Park Service, in which, the public is urged to get out, explore, and Find Their Park! Transportation to the event was made possible through the generosity of multiple donors to the Friends of the Smokies, Great Smoky Mountains Association, and the National Park Foundation.
For information on events and educational resources that celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, please visit the National Park Service website at https://www.nps.gov/hispanicheritage.