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National Parks take the park experience to Austin

May 03, 2016

AUSTIN, TX - As part of its 100th anniversary celebration, the National Park Service will partner with the National Park Foundation to launch a series of special events called Park Exchange designed to bring parks to life in urban areas and demonstrate the diversity of park experiences.

The project is part of the #FindYourPark / #EncuentraTuParque movement to build public engagement with national parks during the National Park Service's 2016 centennial celebration. Today, Andy Roddick will officially kick off Park Exchange with the first event at The University of Texas at Austin. For each event, a national park experience will be conveyed – or exchanged – with one of America's urban centers.

The first Park Exchange event on May 3rd in Austin, Texas will bring the inspiration of one of the oldest natural living things on earth, redwood trees, to one of America's fastest growing cities. The Exchange will juxtapose the nature of Redwood National and State Parks in California against the architecture of the iconic University of Texas Tower, which soars high at 307 feet above Austin, the height of the tallest redwoods. At the event, people will see projected images of themselves transform into mighty redwoods on the UT Tower, in some cases growing to the height of 307 feet tall. The experience will drive home the message that "you are the parks."

Two additional Park Exchange events will take place later in the summer. In June, New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park will bring its unifying musical tradition to a city with a vast music culture: Chicago. In August, the series will culminate in New York City, taking the innovation from Thomas Edison National Historical Park in a small New Jersey town, to the iconic big city skyline.

"I'm honored to join the National Park Foundation to celebrate the National Park Service Centennial and help kick off the first Park Exchange event here in Austin. I grew up going to the Everglades and look forward to one day taking my son. Preserving and protecting the national parks – our nation's greatest treasures – for future generations is an important movement and one that resonates particularly now that I'm a father," said Andy Roddick.

"Bringing parks to the people is an important aspect of our efforts to engage new audiences in their national parks," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "This series of Park Exchanges will invite people to see themselves in our national parks and expand their understanding of everything that a national park can be."

"Through the incredibly innovative Park Exchange series, people across the country will experience our parks like never before, literally seeing themselves reflected in a park and watching as parks take over three of our country's biggest cities," said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks. "Thanks to this creative endeavor, people from all walks of life will enjoy discovering how this country's treasured parks add value to their lives and why it's so important to ensure their preservation for generations to come."

"We are honored to help celebrate the centennial for the National Park Service and host the first Park Exchange event on the UT Austin campus, connecting the history and opportunities of the parks with our students," said Gregory L. Fenves, University of Texas President.

The Park Exchange is part of the Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque movement, which was launched in March 2015 by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service. Inspiring people from all backgrounds to celebrate and support America's national parks and community-based programs, #FindYourPark invites people to discover and share their own unique connections to our nation's natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history.

Some of the most admired companies in the world are supporting the National Park Foundation's efforts for #FindYourPark, including American Express, Budweiser, Subaru, REI, Humana and Disney. Additional partners include Coleman and Coca-Cola.

National Parks take the park experience to Austin

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