Vol 35 | No 2 | Spring 17
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National Parks Exhibit Opens to Full House at Ayala Science Library

ImageUniversity Librarian Lorelei Tanji welcomed the audience of over 150 UCI students, faculty, community members, friends of the libraries, Crystal Cove California park rangers and other distinguished guests, to the grand opening of "Our Majestic Lands - California's National Parks," the UCI Libraries' first major exhibit set in the Francisco J. Ayala Science Library.

Wallace Stegner famously called the National Parks "the best idea we ever had" and Lorelei Tanji took a moment in her welcoming remarks to remind the audience that of all the fifty states, California, our home, has the most national parks with nine, "ranging from Death Valley's desert to the mountains and forests of Sequoia and Kings Canyon."

Featured speaker Al Baldwin (Chair of the National Park Foundation, the National Park Service's official charitable partner) expanded that theme by sharing how these nine California National Parks, while sublime in their own right, are only one element of the National Park Service's enormous and diverse footprint throughout the state.

California is in fact home to 24 other variously designated National Park Service sites. These sites range from Alcatraz Island to Point Reyes National Seashore, from the Mojave National Preserve to Manzanar National Historic Site. Manzanar was one of ten camps where Japanese American citizens and resident Japanese aliens were incarcerated during World War II. The Manzanar War Relocation Center site, Mr. Baldwin reflected, embodies the National Park Service's commitment to unflinching cultural and historic preservation - "In this country we not only preserve the good memories, we preserve the embarrassing ones."

ImageThe core mission of the National Park Foundation, Mr. Baldwin continued, is to preserve, protect, and grow our priceless national park spaces that "are very diverse, much more than [just] our iconic landscapes, they also encompass our history and the American way of life."

Inspiration for "Our Majestic Lands" was drawn from the National Park Service's Centennial Anniversary, which was celebrated on August 25, 2016. Those one hundred years are represented visually at the exhibit by an image rich timeline which documents moments of growth and challenge in National Park Service history. Arching across the main exhibit wall, the timeline begins with Yosemite's designation as a geographic set aside in the mid-19th Century, the first step towards a National Park System, and concluding January 2017 as . "rogue National Parks Twitter accounts appear and tweet out climate change facts in response to temporary bans on social media postings from the Trump Administration."

"Our Majestic Lands" was enriched by MacGillivray Freeman Films which generously shared some of the most spectacular footage from their current IMAX film "National Parks Adventure."

The exhibit was also enriched by a National Parks Photo Contest in which UCI students were encouraged to submit their own national park photos into competition.

Gorgeous photographs of national parks from across the nation were submitted, and the three winning photographs were prominently displayed at the exhibit, and awards given to the three student winners: Blake Burton, Faezeh Tork Ladani and Elijah Jenkins.

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The event hosted a unique "campfire chic" buffet where guests roasted marshmallows and built s'mores inside an academic library, arguably, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

To view photos from the opening event and the student video contest submissions, visit the Libraries' Flickr account. Presentation slides and an audio recording of the presentation are also available on UCI Replay.

The exhibit is on display at Ayala Science Library through June 2017 during regular library hours. If you would like to arrange a special tour with the curators, please contact Wendi Morner, Director of Development, at wmorner@uci.edu or x48904.