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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • Grant to fund program to bring Native Americans to site

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  • The George Washington Carver National Monument has one of America’s best ideas —according to the National Park Foundation.
    The park foundation believes that parks offer natural, cultural and historic treasures which can inspire a new generation. Because of this, the Foundation awarded $465,000 to 39 national parks to come up with what is called “America’s Best Idea.”
    The Carver Monument has been granted over $19,000 to develop a program to connect people, especially young people, to visit national parks. According to Lana Henry, of the Carver Monument, the grant is funding a sub-contractor to work with area tribes to bring young Native Americans to the monument at Diamond.
    “We contracted with Dr. Linda Warner who is working with the tribes to find how we can serve them…what their needs are and what problems keep them from coming to the park,” said Henry.
    Warner’s goal is to bring Native Americans to the park at least six times before the end of the year. She hopes to attract them to such events as Carver Day and Prairie Day, along with other events at the park.
    The term “America’s Best Idea” is derived from the Ken Burns documentary “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.”
    The documentary is a six-episode series that took over six years to make and features some of the most spectacular locations in America’s national parks.
    A 2014 report “Heritage Tourism at George Washington Carver National Monument” pointed out the lack of visitors from minorities such as NativeAmericans, African Americans, Hispanic/Latino, Asian-Americans and low-income populations. This grant is toward solving some of these issues.
    Of the more than 350 national park sites in the country, only Carver and 38 other sites were selected for an  “America’s Best Idea” grant.
    Jonathan B. Jarvis, director of the National Park Service supports this program and said, “We want everyone to find themselves in a national park.”
    The staff at Carver also wants everyone to come. People of all ages, races or abilities are encouraged to learn about the natural, cultural and historic treasures that can be found at the George Washington Carver National Monument.

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