Chalmette Battlefield resides in the Jean Lafiette National Historical Park and Preserve. Located just down river from New Orleans, this battlefield preserves the history of the final battle of the War of 1812. While the treaty ending the was signed in late 1814, due to the slow forms of communication the word never reached the troops stationed at the site. The battle was fought on January 8th, 1815 and was a resounding victory for the United States over the old European ideas of aristocracy and entitlement. This is also the battle where future President Andrew Jackson where he made a name for himself as a military and leader figure.
Over the years much of the land has been compromised, negatively impacting the Battlefield and the Cemetery. NPT working with NPT will bring student from the area to battlefield to help with the restoration project. These students will help the NPS rangers plant native trees as part of the larger stewardship project. This helps to connect the local students to learn about and participate in a long term restoration project. Through this they will learn about importance of this historic landmark and long-term preservation.
Only one sitting U.S. President has been exposed to enemy gunfire during wartime. That occurred in July 1864, when President Abraham Lincoln traveled on horseback to Fort Stevens in Northwest Washington D.C. Fort Stevens was the northernmost in a ring of 68 forts encircling the capital city to protect it during the Civil War. When General Jubal Early and his corps of 20,000 Confederates snuck across the Potomac River upstream from the capital and circled through Maryland, Fort Stevens became the only one of the forts to come under attack during the war. At that time, Washington, D.C. was being defended by only about 9,000 poorly trained reserves scattered among the forts. Fortunately, the Confederates were detected and the Union Army rushed in veteran reinforcements the night before the Confederate attack. Lincoln was present to spur on the Union troops, and at one point in the battle the 6’4” president was commanded to get down so as not to be shot by the Confederate sharpshooters. Faced with a superior Union force, including supporting cannon fire from Fort DeRussy to the west and Fort Slocum to the east, General Early decided to retreat and return to Virginia.
In 2001 when the direct viewshed of the fort was threatened by a developer planning to build 13 townhouses, NPT sprang into action. NPT negotiated with the developer to purchase the 3-acre parcel for $185,000, less than its assessed value by $40,000. NPT acquired the land on the last day of 2001. However, it was not until September 2003 that the legal transfer of the property to the National Park Service (NPS) was completed. NPS incorporated this land into Rock Creek Park, the nation’s largest urban unit of the NPS, which already included Fort Stevens itself. The neighbors and the board of NPT all gathered at the property for a celebration.
One of NPT’s strongest neighborhood supporters during this entire process were alumni of the Military Road School. This historic school would have been very adversely impacted by the construction of townhouses on the 3-acre parcel which is contiguous to the school. Built in 1911 for educating freed African Americans, the school attracted African American children in the upper northwest section of the District of Columbia as well as the surrounding towns in Maryland. The Military Road School remained in use through 1954 when school segregation ended. It has recently been fully renovated and serves today as a very popular D.C. public charter school.
Fort Stevens now serves as an educational center for interpretation of the battle, while the Military Road School conveys its own rich African American history. As the battle that took place in 1864 prepares to mark it's 150th anniversary in 2014, NPT is proud to have been involved in the preservation of this national treasure.
National Park Trust (NPT) is pleased to announce that Senator Ron Wyden (OR) will receive the 2014 Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on June 11, 2014. The Senator currently serves as chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
“Preserving Oregon’s special places has been near the top of my agenda ever since I was elected to Congress, not only because it helps the environment but also because outdoor recreation creates a lot of jobs in our part of the world. National parks are a resource that everyone can enjoy, so this award from the National Park Trust is truly an honor,” stated Senator Wyden.
NPT will recognize Senator Wyden for his outstanding record in park preservation and environmental stewardship, and for his ability to create bipartisan solutions. His leadership on the Omnibus Public Land Management Act protected over 150,000 acres of land in Oregon, and created new wilderness for future generations to enjoy. Wyden has been a steadfast supporter of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, continuously pushing legislation that would guarantee full funding. Wyden also co-sponsored the Senate Resolution officially recognizing NPT’s Kids to Parks Day in May 2013.
“I am so delighted that NPT is honoring Senator Ron Wyden with the Vento Award. I know that Bruce would be delighted as well. Senator Wyden’s commitment to preserving our nation’s treasured national parks and environment and providing opportunities for all citizens – especially children – to experience our national parks makes him a public servant who truly deserves NPT’s recognition,” said Sue Vento, NPT Leadership Council.
NPT established the Vento Award in 2000 to honor the memory and legacy of Bruce Vento, a twelve-term Congressman from Minnesota, dedicated environmentalist and a champion of legislation for America’s parks. The Award honors a public servant for his or her commitment to the environment, and his service, skill and innovation in support of our public lands. Recent recipients include Congressman Mike Simpson, Senator Jeff Bingaman, Senator Susan Collins, Senator Mark Udall, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Senator Harry Reid, Congressman George Miller and Senator John McCain. All proceeds from the event benefit NPT’s park preservation and youth education initiatives.
Across the country, NPT kicked off the 5th year of our Buddy Bison environmental education program by engaging more than 1,000 students with their local, state and national parks.
Here is a snapshot:
- In Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., the federal shutdown did not prevent 500 students representing eight Buddy Bison schools from exploring the Anacostia River with the help of our partner Wilderness Inquiry (WI). WI brought six, 24-ft Voyageur canoes from St. Paul, Minnesota to Bladensburg Waterfront Park in Prince George’s County, MD. For most of these elementary and middle school students, this was their first time on the river. They had a terrific time learning about native wildlife and plants, the importance of keeping our rivers clean, and about water safety
- In Mississippi, Buddy Bison students from Escatawpa Upper Elementary School (Moss Point, MS) and Forest Elementary School (Forest, MS) explored their local river and state park. More than 140, 5th -grade students from Escatawpa Upper Elementary School went on a river boat tour of the bayou at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center. They learned about swamps and the animals that have adapted to live in that environment. One hundred fifty, 2nd -grade students from Forest Elementary visited LeFleur’s Bluff State Park and the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, located within the park. They hiked the nature trails, saw a reptile show, and learned about the native wildlife and their habitat through hands-on exhibits.
- In Georgia, 300 students from Hollydale and Fair Oaks Elementary Schools retraced the steps of Civil War soldiers at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park by hiking to the very top of the mountain. They learned about the hard life of the soldiers, why the railroad system made the battle for Kennesaw so important, and about the unique geology of the mountain.
Our thanks to the Southern Company Charitable Foundation, Inc. for their generous support for our new schools in Georgia and Mississippi. If you are interested in learning how you can adopt-a-school in your community, contact Shana Newman Fajardo at 301-279-7275, ext 15 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Month at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Secretary Sally Jewell laid out an agenda to strengthen our economy and ensure that we pass along our nation’s rich conservation legacy to the next generation – a path that includes balanced development and engaging and employing youth on our public lands.
“Protecting the special places that communities care about most and passing sustainable budgets that support our public lands are the kind of commonsense, bipartisan actions that Americans want to see Congress take."
As part of Interior’s efforts to encourage balanced development and ensure landscape-level planning, Secretary Jewell issued her first Secretarial Order last month which calls for a Department-wide mitigation strategy. The Order will ensure consistency and efficiency in the review and permitting of new energy and other infrastructure development projects, while also providing for the conservation, adaptation and restoration of our nation’s valuable natural and cultural resources.
Jewell also underscored the need for Congressional action to support our national parks, refuges, rivers and conservation lands, including mandatory, full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund by 2015.
Following her speech in D.C, Secretary Jewell joined business, health, education, nonprofit and conservation leaders in San Francisco to launch a national campaign to expand opportunities for youth on public lands. The goals of the Interior’s youth initiative for the next four years include:
- Play: Interior will develop or enhance outdoor recreation partnerships in a total of 50 cities to create new, systemic opportunities for outdoor play for more than 10 million young people.
- Learn: Provide educational opportunities for at least 10 million of the nation’s K-12 student population annually. In addition to welcoming students into nature’s classroom, DOI is developing and strengthening new online education resources to reach more students.
- Serve: Engage 1 million volunteers annually on public lands, effectively tripling the current numbers. It is clear that many more people are interested in volunteering at national parks, wildlife refuges and public lands, but there are often insufficient staff resources to coordinate. There will be a renewed emphasis on volunteer coordination and management.
- Work: To develop the next generation of lifelong conservation stewards and ensure a skilled and diverse workforce pipeline, Interior will provide 100,000 work and training opportunities to young people within their bureaus and through public-private partnerships. As part of this effort, they will aim to raise an additional $20 million to support the youth work and training opportunities.
“There is a growing disconnect between young people and the great outdoors – and it’s a gap that Interior has the power to help bridge,” said Secretary Jewell. “Through public-private partnerships and in conjunction with all levels of government, Interior will expand its efforts to pass on our nation’s rich conservation legacy and to inspire millions of young people to play, learn, serve and work outdoors.”
Click here to watch Secretary Jewell speak about the Department’s plans for the next four years.