Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Emily Ramos Finds HER Park

Seventh grader, Emily Ramos, is a seasoned National History Day (NHD) participant. She is also a seasoned National Park explorer! For the past couple of years, her stellar NHD projects have allowed her to share her love for history and meet other young scholars who share that passion.This year’s NHD theme was Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange, so Emily decided to research the establishment of the National Park Service and its role in preserving and protecting sites and landscapes of significance. Her project coincides with our own Centennial celebration and serves as an excellent tribute to one-hundred years of inspiration, education, and community.

We interviewed Emily to get more insight into her research process.

  Emily Ramos
Grade:  7
School:  Nicholas Oresko School
Hometown:  Bayonne
Hobbies/Interests:  Swim Team, Girl Scouts, violin and reading 

What is National History Day and why do you enjoy participating?

National History Day is an academic contest that focuses on different areas of history. I enjoy participating in National History Day because it gives students a fun and interactive way to learn about different aspects of history.  

What was this year’s theme and how did you go about interpreting it?

This year’s NHD theme was “Exploration, Encounter and Exchange”. My topic relates to all of these aspects. It deals with the exploration of a new idea. My thesis stated that establishing America's national parks was one of our nation's best ideas. This idea was very radical for the time period- that lands should be preserved for everyone to enjoy and for future generations. Exchange also played a role in my project- industrialization and economy using up the land and the resources versus protection and preservation. Encounter involved new peoples, such as Indian tribes living there, people occupying the lands in the east where Shenandoah and the Smokies were created. Their opposition was encountered in many cases. I was glad to find out through my research that the idea of establishing national parks succeeded. And I agree that it was one of the best ideas and contributions made by our country.   

How did you choose a topic?

My family and I have visited several National Parks over the past few years.  I learned that they are all operated by the National Park Service. My favorite parks are the ones that preserve and conserve the natural world such as: mountains, seashores, and wildlife habitats. Besides being some of the most beautiful places to visit, they offer many educational programs. My favorite is the Junior Ranger Program. It allows young people to earn badges for completing activities designed to have them learn about a particular park in a fun and interactive way. With the 100th anniversary of the NPS approaching, I would like to use my project as doing my part in making people aware of what our National Parks have to offer.

Describe your project, research process, and how you decided to present your information (the kiosk format)?

I enjoyed doing my research for this year’s NHD project because I was learning more about a subject that interests me. Some of the information I used, I obtained while visiting some National Parks and National Historic Sites, from talking to park rangers, and watching movies and visiting exhibits. I already watched many parts of the movie, “The National Parks; America’s Best Idea.” It was very informative and interesting to watch, and I liked seeing all the beautiful national parks. I read several articles in online magazines and reviewed a few books.They gave me timelines and information about pioneers in creating the national parks.  

What was the NHD competition process like? 

After finishing the project, the next step was to present this to my peers and social studies teacher. My project was one of the projects selected to move onto the regional competition.  The regional competition took place at Monmouth University. It was very exciting being with my fellow classmates and other students from my town. After setting up our displays, each of us had a set time to go back into the hall and present our project to the judges. When everyone was finished, we had an opportunity to go back into the hall and stand by our projects and talk to other students, parents and judges. This was my favorite part when I got to talk to everyone about my project. Part of one of my interactive activities was to have people use push pins to find their park.

What are some of your favorite National Parks and why?

My favorite national park is Acadia National Park. I enjoyed wading in the crystal clear lakes and sun bathing. I enjoyed taking hikes along the rocky coast with my family.  My favorite part of the parks were climbing from rock to rock as the mist from the crashing waves blanketed my face and filled my ears with the sounds of the ocean. I would listen to the wispy sounds of the wind and the crash of the waves against the rocks. All I could feel was the sensation of the wispy winds’ icy fingers curl around my face and twirl my hair as if it were about to sweep me off my feet and pull me into the frigid waters that every so often would splash my ankles as if asking to follow it in further. 

What made you decide to share your final project with Morristown NHP?

During my NHD research, my father and I met with Dr. Jude Pfister and Dr. Sarah Minegar to discuss my project. We discussed ideas and to learn how the parks were established. I learned that Morristown National Historic Park was America’s first national historic park.  That’s why I decided that that would be a good place for a project dealing with establishing national parks.  

Does your family have any plans to visit National Parks during this year’s Centennial? If so, which ones and why?

We are hoping to visit a few national historic parks and earn some more junior ranger badges. Some of them may consist of FDR’s home, Eleanor Roosevelt’s NHS, Martin Van Buren’s home, Teddy Roosevelt’s Birth Place, and Fort McHenry. As for the natural parks, we plan to visit the Rocky Mountains National Park.


!! Emily’s NHD kiosk will be proudly displayed this spring, at the Morristown National Historical Park, Morristown, New Jersey. !! Stay Tuned. 

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