A Walk in the Park

NWF   |   June 20, 2006

NWF’s mission is to inspire Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future. The National Park Service was created to preserve natural resources. So it would be logical to assume that the park service and NWF have similar interests. And we do. We both know how important land conservation is. We both want to preserve outdoor spaces and educate people about nature and show that we can live in harmony with the great outdoors. Parks are essential in maintaining wildlife habitat, curbing sprawl, and educating people and getting them excited about the Earth. But our nation’s parks are in trouble.

In parks across the country, cell phone towers are starting to go up, suburbs are pushing closer and closer to park boarders, and funding to maintain parks is disappearing. And then there are the impacts of global warming – drought, increased forest fires, increased pollution, temperature variations and new invasive species. Putting a strain on these immensely important resources threatens wildlife and will be incredibly hard to reverse. The more we stress our national parks, the more important conservation will become.

Conservation and habitat restoration are areas that NWF fellows have worked on in the past and are currently working on this year as well. Melissa Fries and Edi Sonntag, both 2006 Campus Ecology Fellows, are working on habitat conservation projects. Melissa is working to protect fragile vernal pools around the Ohio State campus while Edi is completing an intensive survey of amphibians and reptiles on the Michigan State campus. As wild land encounters more man-made threats, this type of habitat work will become more and more important.