On June 11, 2016, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation will partner with Common to host the second event in the organizations’ Park Exchange Series, bringing the musical experience of New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park to Chicago.

The public is invited to join the celebration of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary in this innovative exchange that will highlight the diversity of park experiences and the breadth of our National Park System. This exchange is part of the #FindYourPark/#EncuentraTuParque centennial celebration for the National Park Service.

For each of the three Park Exchange events, a national park experience is conveyed to – or exchanged with – one of America’s urban centers. For Chicago’s Park Exchange, a New Orleans second line will swing from one musically rich city to another.

“Chicago and New Orleans are two culturally diverse cities with rich histories in music and I’m honored that the National Park Service and National Park Foundation invited me to be a part of this experience,” said Common. “I grew up on the Southside of Chicago and think the second line will be an especially meaningful and wonderful tradition for our community. I hope this event will inspire people to find their park.”

The heart of a second line is its ability to unite communities and encourage them to join the festivities, offering a unique opportunity for the Southside neighborhood of Chicago to experience the culture celebrated at a national park in Louisiana: New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park.

On June 11th, Common will serve as Honorary Grand Marshall for the Park Exchange celebration and will kick off the second line celebration through Washington Park joined by the National Park Foundation, the National Park Service, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and New Orleans’s Treme Brass Band and Black Men of Labor. (Note: Common will not be performing during the celebration). Chicagoans are invited to join the festivities at the entrance of 57th Street and MLK Drive at 11:30 AM CDT.

The celebration, which is free and open to the public, will include:
• Opening Remarks with Common, Will Shafroth (President of the National Park Foundation), Peggy O’Dell (Deputy Director of the National Park Service)
• Second line jazz festival through the city of Chicago at 12:00 PM CDT with NPF, NPS, Treme Brass Band and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
• Interactive stations from National Park Foundation Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque Partners:
◦ The Coleman Company who will have a merchandise vignette centered around our National Park Foundation commemorative line, a giant blow up 20’ lantern, Coleman lawn games, and other fun giveaways.
◦ Humana who will demonstrate how spending time in a national, state or local community park can benefit your physical and mental well being. Through the use of 360 virtual reality technology, Humana will transport you to the rugged rock formations of Joshua Tree and into the giant, ancient Sequoia forests of Yosemite. The breathtaking views will inspire you to find your park and embrace the great things ahead, as you start a journey towards renewed health.
◦ Subaru of America who will be on-site to raise awareness of its National Park Zero-Landfill Initiative, an effort to significantly reduce waste going into landfills from all national parks. Attendees will be able to enjoy a variety of interactive activities and learn how they can help and of course win prizes.

In addition to the Chicago-New Orleans music theme, the event will also engage rangers from one of our nation’s newest national parks, Pullman National Monument in Chicago. Pullman rangers will be on hand to talk about the park and its ongoing development.

“Most people know that the National Park Service preserves amazing landscapes, but the Park Exchange event series demonstrates that we care for America’s cultural and historic treasures, too,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park and Pullman National Monument are just two of the many parks where visitors can experience our nation’s rich and diverse cultural heritage. We especially hope that the series will help young people discover what national parks can mean to them.”

The Chicago and New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park Exchange is the second event in the series, which is designed to bring parks to life in urban areas and demonstrate the diversity of park experiences. In May, the National Park Service and National Park Foundation brought the iconic redwood trees to the city of Austin, Texas to juxtapose the nature of Redwood National and State Parks in California against the architecture of the iconic University of Texas Tower, which soars high at 307 feet above Austin, the average height of a redwood tree. In August, the Park Exchange event series will culminate in New York City, taking the innovation from Thomas Edison National Historical Park in a small New Jersey town, to the iconic big city skyline.

“A park experience can be many things that can transform lives and shape minds. That is what we’re creating with the Park Exchange event series,” said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks. “Through this unique exchange, we are opening up a whole new world of discovery as people experience first-hand how parks are so much more than grass and trees. Parks can be music, community, and culture.”

The Park Exchange event series is part of the Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque movement, which was launched in March 2015 by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service. Inspiring people from all backgrounds to celebrate and support America’s national parks and community-based programs, #FindYourPark invites people to discover and share their own unique connections to our nation’s natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history.

Some of the most admired companies in the world are supporting the National Park Foundation’s efforts for #FindYourPark, including American Express, Budweiser, Subaru, REI, Humana and Disney. Additional partners include Coleman and Coca-Cola.

A calendar of events taking place across the country to celebrate the National Park Service Centennial can be found at FindYourPark.com/Find.

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