By: Rob Mosesov
Summary. National parks are reserved ecological environments where very little to no human interaction is allowed. These sites may include natural landmarks or habitats such as Old Faithful, mountains, and forests; they may also include wildlife such as moose and bison. Not only are there national parks like Yellowstone, but there are also national parks in nations outside the U.S.. There are national parks in tropical countries such as Costa Rica that grant the opportunity to appreciate what nature has to offer, including beautiful rainforests and astonishing wildlife. National parks could help individuals who are not scientifically-inclined be more aware of how precious natural resources and/or habitats can be, and perhaps ecotourists could learn how to be more responsible ecotourists. America’s national parks include but certainly not limited to: Yellowstone- where Old Faithful is located, the Grand Canyon, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Yosemite National Park, and of course, the Indiana Dunes - which will be discussed shortly. Protected biomes are not limited to national parks (domestic or foreign), they also include protected reefs - which are perhaps just as important, if not more important for supporting Earth’s lifeforms; for the sake of this blog’s topic though, I will not delve into reefs. Ecotourism (i.e. visiting national parks) could not only be an experience to enjoy dazzling scenery, but also to do volunteer-work, such as supporting local schools or cleaning up natural habitats.
We we should care? Why people should care about this topic is because our planet has many habitats and organisms, and both of these things are dying! Without at least some preservation, the Earth as we know it would not be the same.
Example News Article:
The Indiana Dunes Park is a 15,000 acre park where people can now go visit. There have been thousands of visitors so far since the beginning of this year, with more than 42,000 visitors in July alone! These dunes are over 10,000 years old and some can be a whopping 200 feet tall; to put this height into perspective, it’s the height of a 20-floor building- or if you’re a sci-fi movie buff like I am, that’s taller than some versions of Godzilla! The Indiana Dunes Park is the first Indiana national park to be nationally acknowledged as such.
Science in Action.
Suzy Sanders is a Plant Ecologist with the National Parks Service.
Suzy Sanders has worked with the National Park Service for the last fifteen years. She is in charge of vegetation and forest monitoring of over 400 locations. Before she joined the National Park Service, she acquired a biology degree specializing in certain plant shortages. Why her work is relevant to national parks is because, for one, she works for a federal agency that conserves national parks and/or other protected biomes. Although dune parks are famous for having sand dunes, they often possess at least some photosynthetic organisms (i.e. plants); so that’s also what makes dunes relevant to a botanist’s work . Who knows, there might even be biologists analyzing plants in national parks (including dunes) as you’re reading this!