backpackers standing atop a mountain


Second Century Stewardship began in 2016 as a collaboration between Schoodic Institute, the U.S. National Park Service (NPS), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to advance science and inspire audiences of all ages by inviting visitors and others to view national parks through a “science lens” while providing authentic learning experiences.

On June 25, 2016, David Shaw, a trustee of the National Park Foundation, announced a $1 million gift to set in motion a vision of the next century’s legacy for America’s national parks. Today, partners Schoodic Institute, the U.S. National Park Service, and the David E. Shaw Charitable Trust further the effort.

Second Century Stewardship began at Acadia National Park and will grow to include national parks across the country, advancing science and engaging with audiences of all ages – not just those who visit national parks, but all people, each of whom has a share in protecting and preserving our nation’s natural places and maintaining the vital health of our air, soil and water.

Acadia National Park currently serves as the project pilot park. It is one of the nation’s most visited parks within the NPS. Acadia National Park leadership has a strong commitment to applying current research to its resource and visitor management decisions so as to protect those resources and assure the quality of visitor experiences and education.

Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park is a non-profit partner to the NPS and is dedicated to promoting scientific literacy and environmental stewardship through science research and learning for all ages. Located within Acadia National Park the Institute weaves education with research, supports priority science, provides professional learning opportunities, and builds understanding and appreciation for the natural world.

This project was made possible in part by a grant from the National Park Foundation through the generous donation of David Shaw.

“We must not fail to cultivate the next generation of park stewards if we are to sustain park health and access for our grandchildren and their children.”

-David Shaw, Shaw Charitable Trust

Three additional research fellows each year.

  • Continued work communicating fellows work and stories.
  • Engaging Acadia Teacher Fellows in Fellows’ research each year.
  • Convene leaders at Schoodic Institute to tackle local or regional conservation issues, such as managing climate refugia and managed relocation.

Expanding Second Century Stewardship to Additional National Parks

  • Issue request for proposals to identify the next parks.
  • Advise on fellow recruitment and selection.
  • Share lessons learned at Acadia National Park by promoting its successful model throughout the park system.
  • Annual communication workshops and symposia in parks across the country.
  • Facilitate inter-park communication.
  • Foster long-term scientist – manager relationships.


Second Century Stewardship will produce myriad measurable success for national parks, surrounding communities and society including:

  • Second Century Fellows’ research informs and advances national park management activities.
  • Visitor surveys illustrate an improved understanding of the importance of science to national parks, communities, and society.
  • Outreach activities reflect the increasing adoption of Second Century Fellowship and other science by individuals, schools and community leaders, and the development of effective public policy.
  • Gatherings of Second Century Fellows identify and diagnose critical environmental challenges, and frame sustainable solutions.