National Parks Connection
As the newly-appointed regional ethnographer for the National Park Service for the Southeast Region, Jackson is concerned with research and resource development in the region’s 66 parks from the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park in Kentucky and the Wright Brothers National Memorial in North Carolina, to the Cane River Creole National Park in Louisiana and the Biscayne National Park in Florida. In this role she becomes the region’s latest chief ethnographer with central oversight for meeting the park service’s ethnography and cultural resources management mandates.
“America’s parks have rich and rewarding stories to tell,” said Jackson.
This appointment fits within the Anthropology Department’s commitment to being a nationally-recognized, top-ranked educational program with its special emphasis on applied anthropology.
As Anthropology Department Chair Brent Weisman points out, “Dr. Jackson is representing USF’s strong and growing visibility in the field of applied anthropology and heritage research in a particularly significant way with this appointment. This is anthropology in the public interest and promotes community engagement at the national level.”
Jackson’s work involves advising and offering technical support to the park service on ethnography programs in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In addition, she will be representing the southeast region on national committees and overseeing ethnography at parks throughout these areas. She will also be called upon to make presentations at professional meetings and public gatherings.
“It is truly remarkable how much can be learned about our country and its people through our parks,” says Jackson. “Our ultimate goal is to help these parks increase visitor participation through their stories and the interpretations they present and make those experiences educational in a way that is both inspiring and fun.”
The National Park Service’s seven regions contain more than 395 parks with thousands of people on staff to welcome in excess of 62 million visits a year. The park service got to know Jackson during the time she served as a commissioner on the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission, to which she was appointed in 2007.
“The anthropological resources and research results from the growing community of researchers throughout the region are going to get greater exposure through my efforts and in the long run park visitors will benefit,” she said. “They will see engagement with a wider range of associated communities from people with traditional or historic ties to specific park areas to communities with new and emerging associations with parks.”
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