As we focus on our guiding question, the PLACE Fellowship team worked on strategies each month to try to find answers to this question: How can I work to promote and protect our public lands and collective history? As a recap, in November, we started off the program at the Charlestown Navy yard, where we met the team for the first time and worked closely on our guided question, to help us explore our natural lands and landmarks, to help us better protect it.

Moving Forward! Welcome to the Jolly month, December! While we still have the big guided question throughout our fellowship, each month we have a mini focus question. For the month of December we were focused on the question ¨who we do this for ¨ and ¨ how can social media help the NPS reach a broader audience¨? We started off the month with a virtual meeting with Celena, who helped us recognize the significance of landmarks. She had us examine a historical place with our partners in breakout groups. We then got the chance to present to the whole group about why that place should or should not be significant enough to be called a landmark. It helped us realize that people don’t just go out and declare a place as a “landmark”, there are discussions and arguments that help them decide collectively, after thorough research, whether they should declare it a landmark or not. This discussion brought us back to the overarching question, we realized we can protect and promote our public lands by simply knowing the history behind it and the significance. Without knowledge we wouldnt know what made a place a landmark, however with it can help educate everyone and spread awareness on landmarks. Now knowing this helped us answer the question “who do we do this for¨? Honestly we do this for past, present and future generations. Our goal is to spread awareness and knowledge of our landmarks and what better way to do this then educate the youth. Not only is the youth educated but they will pass on their knowledge to the future generation while continuing to honor the past!

Speaking of future generations, the Place Fellows are majority GEN Z! What better way to pass on knowledge than informing it to youth ! Regarding future generations, we also focused on social media and  ¨ how can social media help the NPS reach a broader audience¨? As teens we spend hours on social media and I think we are experts on how to reach different audiences.

During one of our virtual meetings we took the time to create mood posters. This meant we would research different National Parks’ social media accounts and save anything that looked appealing to us. We discussed ways to make the accounts appealing to different audiences as well. We then met with Emily, Boston Harbor Islands National and Historical Park Ranger. She manages the media for the capital. Emily, shared different statistics on those who would follow different National parks accounts. She helped us realize that a way to help reach broader audiences is to make the media easily assemble to everyone. Everyone has different interests and platforms so we should leave it up to the audience to find those posts that are appealing to them and better yet informative as well. 

We ended our month of December with a hike around the Blue Hills Reservation. It was so much fun and such a relaxing experience. It gave us the time to escape a stressful time filled with covid cases, school, work and just focus on nature. We tend to forget that nature is everywhere around us and should be taken for granted. Just like landmarks, there is a history behind it waiting to be unfolded by everyone. It’s up to us to start and get outside and explore! 

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