The TWHBEA is proud to announce a 5 year partnership with the National Park Service. We are looking for volunteers and participants. Please read the following information and if you feel you can assist in any capacity, please contact Chris Coffey with the TWHBEA by phone at 931-359-0624 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would like to share with you the three objectives of our partnership agreement:
1) To explore opportunities to link the Service’s existing youth programs, such as the Junior Ranger program, with youth programs within TWHBEA, such as the Youth Academy program which certifies riding instructors and teaches leadership qualities through the use of equine assisted education.
2) To identify ways in which the Partners can enhance the training and development of NPS staff in the practical use of horses for resource management and protection activities and in the maintenance of park facilities, where horse use coincides with specific park conditions and is consistent with general management plans.
3) Provide up to 15 targeted educational and interpretive events in park units and on trails in the National Trails System that increase awareness of sustainable horse use, best practices, and environmental ethics by trail users, NPS personnel, and a wide range of interested parties and potential additional partners.
TWHBEA is very proud to be the first equine breed association to officially step forward and take the lead in bringing awareness to the above objectives, and we thank the National Park Service for giving us this opportunity.
Starting in 2008, we will begin taking strategic, solid steps toward completing these objectives.
Our strategy begins with the following four goals:
1) Work with state horse councils, trail organizations, extension offices and any other national and state organizations in order to promote June 7 as National Youth Equine Trails Day. This is our opportunity to utilize an already established program (National Trails Day established by the American Hiking Society) to aim a large segment of focus to our equine youth and in collaboration with the NPS, provide education about their role in the future of our nations trail preservation. To learn more about National Trails Day go to www.Americanhiking.org . You can also search out a National Park near you at www.NPS.gov and find the equine accessible trails in your nearest National Park at www.rec.gov .
2) Develop relationships with our parks. This means getting to know our park supervisors and developing relationships with park rangers. In developing these relationships, we need to apply ourselves in the direction of equine trail maintenance and trail awareness to prove we care about our equine trails.
3) Develop a communication link with equine groups that are already involved with trail rides and maintenance. It is within these groups that we need to build volunteer numbers and aid on work days. These groups are in need of some fresh hands to aid not only in trail rides where knowledgeable riders take precautions to ride the trail in a nature conscious manner, but to work hard on trail preservation days.
4) Participate in the promotion of trail maintenance certification programs and aid in the development of equine trail maintenance standards to be used by any equine trail user or worker.
If you are not already a TWHBEA member, it is our sincerest hope that you will join the TWHBEA and become a part of this enormous opportunity. This is the program we have searched for to form a relationship and bring importance and support to the trail riding segment of our breed.
What is the next step?
Currently we are contacting State Horse Councils, Cooperative Extension Offices, and established Trails Groups to find out what they are already involved in and find out who is interested in becoming involved with our Trails Initiative on June 7, 2008 and beyond.
We need a point person (s) in each state to coordinate in state activities and report the activities and events to TWHBEA. When an event is reported, we will:
1) Notify NPS and they will make the communication link with the park involved.
2) TWHBEA will list it on the website, as well as others provided
3) Make the contact with American Hiking Society to have the information available on their website for National Trails Day.
4) Provide a press release for newspapers and other publications as requested.
5) Each State Horse Council will be kept in a working relationship on all activities.
6) Department Of Tourism in each state will be made aware of activities so they can broadcast them through their channels statewide.
7) The Cooperative Extension offices in each state will be notified.
If you or someone you know would be interested in being a volunteer or working as the point person in your state – please send their contact information to Chris Coffey at TWHBEA email@example.com
Our goal is to have many activities on June 7 for National Trails Day – both for National Youth Trails Day and for all equine trail users. Certificates will be presented to all Youth who participate. It is important to realize that it is not necessary for a youth to ride a TWH, but we do hope they will get exposed to our breed on the activity day.
Activities that will enable youth to be involved at every level include:
A “Ride-A-Thon” where youth riders ride for money. Money goes to Trail Maintenance Activities and TWHBEA/NPS Junior Ranger Program.
An adventure trail ride. This ride should include a presentation on trail awareness when participating in a trail ride, the actual trail ride, a park ranger presentation, and a short presentation on TWHs.
A Trail Class named “National Trails Day Trail Class”. This class will have natural obstacles, or obstacles utilizing natural materials. (This is an option for those who are involved at a horse show)
General Activity Day – This is a day full of educational activities. Educational activities involving education about the following topics:
Trail preservation, trail maintenance, park ranger presentation, ride a TWH, other creative activities left up to adult coordinators and youth coordinators)
EVENTS AFTER JUNE 7:
If you are unable to participate on June 7 – no worries!
We are hoping events will be held all year. Our National Parks are an ongoing resource we need to pursue and preserve. Other options you can participate in are but not limited to:
Trail maintenance days with an existing trail group
Host a youth educational event in coordination with a National Park and the Park Supervisors
Host a Trail awareness event at your local barn. Education can occur anywhere!
Participate in a trail maintenance certification
Go on a responsible, leave no trace trail ride with a group in a National Park. This establishes a relationship with the Park Rangers and Supervisors that will gain confidence and respect.
We at TWHBEA are very excited about the opportunities that the National Parks Service partnership will present for our great horse, the Tennessee Walking Horse. We hope that all trail users, with all breeds of horses will participate and get involved with maintaining our horse trails across the United States.