Yosemite Youth Program Leads to Prestigious Award for Yosemite Park Ranger

Shauna Potocky, a Park Ranger at Yosemite National Park was recently awarded the Pacific West Region 2012 Freeman Tilden Award for her work in creating the Gateway Expressions Student Art and Poetry Contest. This new program, is one of several youth programs being offered in direct partnership with NPS.

Each year the Freeman Tilden Award recognizes a National Park Service (NPS) ranger for developing, revitalizing or delivering a particularly effective and creative interpretive or education program. The Gateway Expressions Student Art and Poetry Contest not only provides a program for youth from the local gateway communities surrounding the park to develop and express their own personal connections to the park, but also strengthens the partnership between the many park partners that were involved in the program. She will represent the Pacific West Region of the NPS in the National Freeman Tilden Award competition. The overall winner will be announced during the National Association of Interpretation Conference to be held in mid-November in Hampton, Virginia.

“Gateway Expressions gives people an opportunity to see the remarkable nature of Yosemite through the eyes of today’s youth. We see what they value, what they connect to and how important it is to them. It is the perfect reminder for us to continue to work towards protecting nature in Yosemite and in the communities we call home,” Potocky remarked.

Looking for some activities so that your children will have fun engaging with and exploring Yosemite? You might be interested in some of the kid-friendly Yosemite programs listed on our website, like Wee Wild Ones, Junior Ranger Programs, or Storytime.

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New Tour Buses in Yosemite


This morning, six beautiful new clean-diesel buses pulled into Yosemite for their first tour of their new home. The new buses are a nice improvement over their predecessors, with greater fuel economy and 90% lower emissions. They come equipped with several convenient ADA features. Not only do they ‘kneel’ to make it easier for people to step inside, but they also have lifts to make it easy for wheelchair users to enjoy the tours. Plus, all riders will appreciate the outlets located next to each seat so that you can conveniently charge your camera or cell phone on your trip.

The convoy of buses drew attention all along their trip to Yosemite due to the beautiful imagery decorating both sides of the buses, and drivers reported that several people stopped to take pictures.

Keep your eyes open for these buses on the longer Yosemite tours such as the Grand Tour, Glacier Point Tour, or the Tuolumne Hiker’s Bus. Next year, three more of these new buses will complete the transition to the new fleet.

Yosemite Celebrates National Public Lands Day

El Capitan with Merced River and Fall Leaves

On Saturday, September 29, 2012 Yosemite National Park will celebrate National Public Lands Day. In commemoration of this special day, the park will waive park entrance fees for all park visitors.

National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance the public lands American’s enjoy. In 2011, 150,000 volunteers built trails and bridges, and removed trash and invasive plants on public lands across the country.

Yosemite National Park’s major emphasis for the day will be the Yosemite Facelift. This volunteer effort begins with an evening program on Tuesday, September 25 and volunteer efforts begin Wednesday, September 26 and continue through Sunday, September 30. Last year, this massive cleanup effort yielded 4,295 pounds of small trash, and 411,447 pounds of old asphalt and concrete. Over 1,300 volunteers assisted during the Facelift effort.

Fees being waived for National Public Lands Day include the park entrance only. All other fees associated with camping, lodging, or activities within the park are not waived. The fee waiver is good for National Public Lands Day only.

Other federal agencies participating in National Public Lands Day include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Forest Service.