Learn all about the National Park Foundation & how to better enjoy the National Parks. This week we’re chatting with the National Park Foundation to learn more about their mission and work around the country. We also interview a ranger from a very special park in Texas to learn more about his work and why it’s important to preserve the hundreds of protected sites around the US.
In recent years I’ve had the great opportunity to explore more of America’s Best Idea, the National Parks. I thought I was making pretty good progress through the parks until very recently when I learned that there are actually more than 400 sites protected and administered by the National Park Service in every corner of the country. That’s an incredible legacy to leave future generations, but ultimately it is only part of the remarkable efforts conducted by the Service, the National Park Foundation and their partners in the preservation of not just historical and natural resources, but the very essence of what it means to be American.
The National Park Foundation (NPF) was chartered by Congress in 1967 to help the National Park Service achieve certain goals that law restricts them to achieve. Namely, the NPF has the ability to not only raise private funds for the benefit of the NPS, but to then use those monies in ways that no government agency would ever be able to. They very much exist in partnership, coordinating efforts that not only help preserve the 419 sites around the country, but also in creating new ways for people to access them.
Eric Bloem is Senior Director for Corporate Partnerships at the National Park Foundation (NPF), the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service. Eric has over 15 years of experience working with Fortune 500 businesses and foundations to develop partnerships that advance social impact, corporate responsibility and community relations goals. Prior to joining NPF, Eric was an executive in Weber Shandwick’s Social Impact practice, consulting with leading organizations including Yum! Brands, Prudential Financial, the LEGO Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Eric also served as Deputy Director of the Human Rights Campaign’s Workplace Project and was a manager with Accenture’s change management practice. Eric holds a degree in Business Management from Bucknell University and lives in Washington, D.C.
Tom Castanos is a park ranger and the education coordinator at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. He has worked with nearly one million area school children in his twenty year tenure with the park. Tom spent a decade in radio all over the nation before coming home to San Antonio to work with the National Park Service.