I'm very pleased to announce that Mount Rainier's "Camping Adventures with My Parents" (CAMP) program is now fully funded for 2010, thanks in part to a $10,000 donation we have recently received from the McKibben Merner Family Foundation through Washington's National Park Fund. The Foundation is committed to encouraging young people to experience nature, and believes the future existence of and support for public lands is absolutely dependent upon getting kids outdoors. The Foundation has also previously funded a mathematics professorship at the University of Washington.
The CAMP program is a perfect fit for the McKibben Merner Family Foundation. Its goals are to recruit ethnically and economically diverse families who have little or no experience with the national parks or with outdoor recreation, and to open the doors for them through faciliated 3-day camping adventures. Last summer was the pilot year of this new program. Seventy-five people in 21 families participated in the program, and based on their responses, the program was a resounding success. You can watch a video of their experience on YouTube, Yahoo Video, or Shutterfly, or view a slide show of pictures on Flickr.com.
Seattle Parks and Recreation, the Student Conservation Association (SCA), and others yet to be determined. We hope to expand our recruitment beyond Seattle to some of the other metropolitan areas in the region, including Tacoma and Olympia. And through SCA, we will begin to offer further opportunities for graduates of the program, including internships through their Conservation Leadership Corps and even employment through the National Park Service's student and diversity hiring programs ("STEP" and "SCEP").
In combination with other grants, the $10,000 received from the McKibben Merner Family Foundation through Washington's National Park Fund will allow us to hire a 30-week intern through the Student Conservation Association to help manage this program, build internships, recruit and orient participants, and lead the five overnight trips. A second 12-week intern will also be hired to help run the programs in the park. These are exciting positions for which SCA is now recruiting applicants. Follow the links in this paragraph to apply!
Washington's National Park Fund, of course, has long been one of our most important partners for raising funds to support new projects and programs at Mount Rainier, North Cascades, and Olympic National Parks. Their fundraising efforts last year contributed $18,800 toward this year's volunteer program at Mount Rainier, allowing us to hire 12- to 16-week volunteer coordinator internships in our trail maintenance, citizen science, and backcountry maintenance programs, and to hire a six-month volunteer coordinator assistant (the position filled so capably last year by Nick Abel). These positions allow us to work more effectively with volunteers, and especially to improve our ability to recruit and train volunteers and offer a wide variety of options for getting involved. SCA is currently recruiting for these positions as well.
The Fund supports many other projects at Mount Rainier and the other Washington national parks. 2010 initiatives include grants for Paradise meadow restoration, next year's volunteer program, and studies of changes to the Nisqually Glacier that have contributed to devastating floods in recent years. Contributions large and small may be made for any of these projects through the Fund's website.