Oral History Project
In commemoration of the NPS Centennial, the Association of National Park Rangers launched an oral history project in 2010. Our goal is to record, transcribe, archive and share interviews of Park Service personnel who have shaped the agency's history during its second half-century.
To date, ANPR has conducted 68 interviews with longtime employees, all of whom helped create the modern Park Service. They joined the agency in the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, and they occupied leadership positions during decades of great change. During their tenure, the NPS expanded significantly, the country adopted laws that challenged the Service's management policies, and the demographics of the agency's workforce and its visitors underwent a significant shift.
ANPR's oral history project joins a long tradition in the NPS of using interviews to safeguard the collective memory and expertise of those who have shaped the Service over the years. It also advances the top priorities of NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis by passing on important lessons to a younger generation of Park Service personnel. The information collected during these interviews can be used immediately as part of workforce development and leadership succession. It is also vital to the long-term stewardship of the agency's history and the education of its early-career employees.
ANPR is committed to properly preserving and protecting the interviews that it conducts. Every interview will be transcribed, edited and archived. The audio recordings and transcriptions of the oral histories will be archived at the Harpers Ferry Center in West Virginia and are being shared via publications and websites.
ANPR's Rick Gale Memorial Fund is underwriting interview transcription, editing and archival preparation of the oral history interviews. In 2015, the National Park Service also contributed funds toward interview transcription. To donate to the Rick Gale Memorial Fund, visit this link.
Listen to Audio Excerpts
(Click on the photos to listen to the excerpts.)
Meg Weesner: Community and Natural Resources
In the 1980s Meg Weesner was among a pioneer generation of women to move into Natural Resources Management in the National Park Service. During her career she discovered that collaboration with partners was the best way to preserve and protect valuable resources.
Flo Six Townsend: Paying it ForwardDo you realize how many people it takes to make the National Park System work? Many are like Flo Six Townsend, who found her Park Service passion in career development and employee training. In 2013 we talked as part of the Association of National Park Rangers Oral History Project. Townsend reflected on her satisfaction is helping others advance their careers and how she herself discovered and developed her own talents in the National Park Service.
Anne and Scott Warner: Seasonal Rangers
Anne and Scott Warner share their stories as seasonal park rangers who began mid-life careers with the National Park Service. They've worked from Maine to Nevada and Louisiana to Texas, exploring our national parks in depth as seasonal rangers and eventually putting down roots at Acadia National Park in Maine.
Diane and Dan Moses: Raising Kids in the Parks
Diane and Dan Moses share what it was like to raise two daughters while living and working in the national parks. Listen along as they tell their stories of giving birth during a Yellowstone winter, finding community in the parks, and allowing their daughters to explore freely.
Wendy Lauritzen: Developing a Career
How do you build a successful career in the National Park Service? In this installment of Centennial Voices, Wendy Lauritzen describes how she combined careful planning, serendipity, the guidance of mentors, and a professional organization to build a satisfying career.
Bill Wade: Centennial Voices
In this episode, Bill Wade describes how he had to bend the rules to safeguard resources when he was superintendent of Shenandoah National Park in the 1980s. The result? Some admonishments; a few accolades; and a sense of a job well done. Thanks to the Association of National Park Rangers for this oral history collaboration with the Park History Program.
Read Interview Excerpts from Ranger Magazine
Interviewees as of January 2017
James "JD" Swed
Florence Six Townsend
Margaret "Meg" Weesner