Tuesday, May 31, 2016

DELIGHTED AND GRATIFIED I: National Park Art Exhibit

"We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune." - Theodore Roosevelt

I am delighted and gratified that the St. Johns County Cultural Council is sponsoring an exhibit on national parks, which may soon lead to the Cultural Council joining the Matanzas Riverkeeper in supporting the St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore proposal. www.staugustgreen.com

The St. Augustine National Historical Park and National Seashore was first proposed by Mayor Walter Fraser and Senator Claude Pepper, et al. in 1939 -- almost exactly 77 years ago.

Guest Column: Celebrate our gift that is our national parks
Posted: May 28, 2016 - 3:24pm | Updated: May 29, 2016 - 12:01am
By Nadia Ramoutar
St. Augustine Record
The nature of celebrating appears to be diluted by contrived corporate creations like “Sibling Day” and “National Macaroni and Cheese Day.” It would be easy (especially if you are Irish) to be cynical about such declarations about things we “must” celebrate and privately rebel.

That said, I would like to contradict myself and implore you to join me in getting excited about a really worthy public anniversary: The 100-year celebration of the National Park Service.

Nothing makes me more proud to be an American citizen than the national parks. I was born in Ireland, one of the most beautiful places on earth (and home of naturally modest people too), but the glory and majesty of the national parks in America truly defy any labels or classification on splendor. We have never needed nature more. In our busy world with so many screens and constant information ambushes, the simplicity and abundance of nature is the perfect cure.

If you don’t know the magical story of how the visionary and eloquent defender, John Muir, fought for the National Parks Service to happen, he is a hero worth your exploration. If you find yourself discouraged about politics, find out more about how the young president Theodore Roosevelt became one of the national parks’ greatest champions. He found throughout his grieving of his young wife and beloved mother, only the outdoors brought him comfort. Muir convinced Roosevelt to go camping with him and the rest is history. I don’t dare think what would have happened to the splendor of hundreds of sites without the courage and tireless efforts of these men and many other people since. We need more heroes like this today, and there are many more everyday heroes devoted to preserving natural assets who go without acknowledgement.

So, if you can, join us at 5:30 p.m. June 9 at the Lightner Museum for a wonderful reception and inspiring exhibit of fine art portraying the national parks. There will be incredible dishes from several of St. Augustine’s most notable independent restaurants that have taken the challenge to create a unique dish inspired by the parks. Live music will capture the spirit of our pioneers. Tickets are available at celebrating100years.eventbrite.com. This is also a fundraiser for the St. Johns Cultural ArtsReaches program to raise money for more artists in our county to create beauty. They need our help too.

If you cannot make the event, come to the exhibit at the Lightner Museum. The 18 works selected to be part of the juried show will be on display as part of the America’s Parks exhibition from June 10 to Aug. 31.

More details are available at stjohnsculture.com.

But, more than anything, please get outside more and experience the life-altering serenity and sensation of the national and state parks, a local park or your garden.

Launch a personal revolution. Get outside. Marvel at the wonders only nature offers.

When things start to get you down, take a moment, look up and take the high road the outdoors uniquely and generously provides at no cost.

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