National parks are important to me because they help to preserve valuable land, protect the habitats of animals and protect our heritage. National parks are all so different, offering everything from grassy and wavy, to rocky, to mountains, lakes and rivers to coastlines.
They help animals stay alive, healthy and safe and help people to appreciate nature.
Another reason parks are important is because they are outstanding places for family vacations. You can see geysers explode, go fishing, hike on fabulous trails, see beautiful wildlife including birds, bears, elk, and deer, snowmobile through forests, rock climb, canoe, explore and see the most amazing natural sights. In addition, they teach people who are not familiar with the outdoors about nature, wildlife, conservation, preservation and outdoor recreation. They teach us so much about our history, culture and heritage.
As young children, the more we go to parks, the more we can teach our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren about them. The more parks we visit, the more our generation will appreciate them.
I have some great ideas to protect our parks for the future. First, national parks should tap into the youth culture using celebrities because that is who the youth of America listen to these days. I love American Idol and I think national parks should get Ryan Seacrest to announce National Parks Day and inform the audience (which is millions) about the beauty of national parks and remind them to help parks by donating money or volunteering with repairing or cleaning trails or even just by visiting them.
I also think that parks should get pictures of stars at national parks to make kids want to say, “Hey, Angelina Jolie stood here!” or “Miley Cyrus loves Yosemite!” They could be put on websites, magazines, and brochures or any media exposure, like on the AOL welcome page or the cover of a teen magazine.
Another great idea is to make a national parks video game. The subjects could be: that you have to save the endangered animals; or, make it around a map of national parks that have obstacles, like a herd of elk, bears, a stream, a waterfall, a Ranger, and beat other people’s times; or, even get on a Wii game where you have to save animals or get rid of bad people like smokers, or people that litter, or feed the wildlife or don’t put out their campfires.
In conclusion, national parks are important to me, to our country and to the world, and we need to make sure they are here for the future, for my children and theirs.
*Skyler Baldwin, age 11, is the 1st place winner for 2009 of the National Parks Essay Contest. She lives in San Diego, CA and will be directing a $5,000 contribution from the National Park Foundation to Yosemite National Park.
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