Mar 3, 2022
Yellowstone National Park just turned 150. It's a 2 million-plus-acre preserve that’s bigger than Delaware or Rhode Island. It's also the world’s oldest national park.
In the last 150 years, Old Faithful has erupted more than a million times. It's the world's most famous geyser. Millions of visitors drop by every year to see it shoot steam up to 185 feet in the air every 45 minutes to two hours. Millions more visit the park’s natural beauty and wildlife.
The park, which spills into three states, became permanently protected on March 1, 1872. That's when President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act. The act created the world's first national park. Since then, the US national park system has grown to 63 preserves.
"We celebrate something much bigger than the park itself — the beginning of the national park idea,” said Chuck Sams. He's director of the National Park Service.
Thousands of tribes of indigenous people once roamed this land. US troops pushed them out, in some cases brutally. The animals remained, and the park now has the largest concentration of mammals in the lower 48 states. That's according to the park service.
It is also the only place in America where bison have lived without interruption since the prehistoric era.
Park managers made some mistakes. In Yellowstone’s early history, they tried to get rid of predators. They nearly wiped out wolves, cougars, and bears.
Their understanding has since changed, and such beasts roam Yellowstone again.
Photo from Yellowstone National Park courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Warming Up to Adaptation: Everglades National Park
This video introduces students to the climate change effects on Everglades National Park and the Florida Bay Area.
Measuring Mangroves in Biscayne National Park
This video from the National Park Service highlights research that is conducted in Biscayne National Park to monitor the health of mangrove forests and the impacts of sea level rise.
Mini-Debate: National Parks
In this activity, students will learn how an increase in visitors is impacting national parks and then have a debate about limiting the number of visitors to national parks.