CVA Emma Hilliard giving nursery tour
Representation matters, and while doing an education piece with a group of girl scouts recently I got reminded of how powerful it is to see yourself represented in intentional ways. These girl scouts had members from Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Washington, and came to Glacier National Park to earn their conservation badge through volunteerism. They did weed pulling, painting, and huckleberry surveys while they were here, but an unexpected moment came up while we were taking a break from painting to learn about the greater NPS system. We have an activity that I learned while working with our education department this past spring, where we look at the different mission statements of the National Forest and the National Park and compare and contrast them. Then we focus in on the NPS mission and look at pictures of different NPS sites and talk about why these sites are protected. I handed out a variety of pictures of NPS sites to the scouts and had them think about why these sites were important and worth protecting. When it came time to share one of the scouts showed her picture of Stonewall Inn in New York and said "this place is important to my culture" and then explained why it was so important to her. She explained why this place that was on the other side of the country, this place that she'd never been to, needed protected and celebrated. It was wild to see this scout that had just two minutes earlier been slumping over with afternoon sleepiness, and trying to be politely interested in what I was saying genuinely light up, sit taller, and engage when she got her picture. It was an unexpected moment that made my day. Representation matters.
Written by Emma Hilliard, CVA at Glacier National Park