National Parks in a Changing World

Topics: Water Resources, Forests, Land Use and Land Cover Change

Global change is occurring within and across all landscapes, including the Intermountain West. This region includes some of our nation’s most iconic, culturally distinct, and ecologically intact landscapes. The widespread, complex, and accelerating nature of 21st century environmental change poses a challenge to the conservation and management of national parks and their invaluable natural and cultural resources. While each individual park remains a distinct unit, every park is embedded in, and influenced by, a larger regional landscape. Park stewardship requires a landscape perspective, strong collaborative partnerships, and an engaged citizenry to manage park resources across scales of space and time.

To foster these perspectives and collaborations, the Worldviews Network extended an invitation to National Park Service (NPS) staff, colleagues, and partners to participate in a unique private event. National Parks in a Changing World was a live, interactive “domecast” between two full-dome planetariums, the Gates Planetarium at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and the Otterbox Digital Dome Theater at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery.  We used the immersive setting of these two dome theaters to explore systems from cosmic to local that connect land, ocean, atmosphere, and biosphere. Using a wide range of datasets from NPS, NASA, NOAA, USGS, USFS, Natureserve, citizen scientists, and others, the audience was taken on an imaginary journey through space and time, from our cosmic origins to our common future, from the neighborhood of our solar system to the heart of the intermountain regional parks. We explored processes of global change, such as land use change, invasive species, energy development and climate change, to better understand how these processes influence park resources and inform 21st century management and conservation approaches.

This event originally took place at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s Gates Planetarium (Denver, CO) and Fort Collins Museum of Discovery’s Otterbox Digital Dome Theater (Fort Collins, CO) on September 26, 2013.

Program Kit


Storyboard & Script


Data Sources

PBS Previews: National Parks

here video...

Bird Migrations in Movebank: Americas

IMAX: North America’s National Parks

here video...

Bird Migration

  • eBird
    A real-time, online checklist program, eBird has revolutionized the way that the birding community reports and accesses information about birds. Launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, eBird provides rich data sources for basic information on bird abundance and distribution at a variety of spatial and temporal scales
  • To Birds, Storm Survival Is Only Natural
    In the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the spiteful me-too northeaster, much of the East Coast looked so battered and flooded, so strewed with toppled trees and stripped of dunes and beaches, that many observers feared the worst. Any day now, surely, the wildlife corpses would start showing up — especially birds, for who likelier to pay when a sky turns rogue than the ones who act as if they own it?
  • Wild Birds Unlimited Educational Resources
    The Great Lakes and their connecting channels from the largest aggregation of freshwater on the planet (excluding the polar ice caps). The watershed includes parts or all of eight U.S. states and the Canadian province of Ontario. The Lakes are the dominant and defining geological characteristic of the upper Midwest, affecting the social, economic, recreational and ecological life of the region. Bordering as it does on four of the five Great Lakes, the State of Michigan and its universities understand the importance of the Lakes for the future vitality of our state. Accordingly the University of Michigan has pursued an active research program in this area, and seeks to share some of its findings through this site. The research papers represented on this site were published by the Great Lakes Research Division, a unit of the University of Michigan Institute for Science and Technology, and later reorganized under the Department of Biology.

Wildlife Migrations

  • Journey North
    A global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change

Climate Change and Sea Ice

  • Climate Change and Sea Ice Portlet
    The Arctic Portal’s Climate Change and Sea Ice Portlet provides an easy access to material concerning global warming and changes in sea ice. The Portlet consists of recent news articles, scientific reports and other relevant material.

Bird Migration

  • Migratory Bird Flyways
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and it’s partner agencies manage for migratory birds based on specific migratory route paths within North America (Atlantic, Mississippi, Central, and Pacific).  Based on those route paths, state and federal agencies developed the four administrative Flyways that administer migratory bird resources.  Each of the flyways has a Flyway representative and assistant which work for the DMBM.  Each flyway also has a Council, consisting of representatives from state and provincial agencies.  These councils serve to direct the hunting regulations process.  The Councils are advised by Flyway technical committees consisting of state and provincial biologists who evaluate species and population status, harvest, and hunter-participation data.
  • eBird
    A real-time, online checklist program, eBird has revolutionized the way that the birding community reports and accesses information about birds. Launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, eBird provides rich data sources for basic information on bird abundance and distribution at a variety of spatial and temporal scales.
  • Bird-Safe Building Guidelines
    New York City Audubon has proudly published Bird-Safe Building Guidelines, a 55-page manual for architects, landscape designers, engineers, glass technicians, developers, building managers, city, state, and federal officials, and the general public. It reveals the magnitude of bird collisions with glass and describes the conditions that cause these deadly collisions. Bird safety in buildings is integral to the “green” sustainable building movement, and the guidelines suggest strategies that complement the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating system. The guidelines also suggest ways to retrofit existing buildings. NYC Audubon’s Bird-Safe Building Guidelines is an important resource for all people in the building and design industries as well as policy makers.
  • Support Bird-Friendly Coffee
    Play a key role in the conservation of migratory birds, which find a sanctuary in their forest-like environment. The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (SMBC) has developed the only 100%-organic shade-grown coffee certification.


  • National Park Service Intermountain Region
  • National Park Service Inventory & Monitoring Program
  • Bethany Bradley, University of Massachusetts, Boston



  • Ned Gardiner (NOAA)
  • Healy Hamilton (NatureServe)


  • Ned Gardiner (NOAA)
  • Healy Hamilton (NatureServe)

Science Advisors

  • David Vana Miller, Resource Stewardship Program Manager, Natural Resources Division Intermountain Regional Office, National Park Service
  • Bill Monahan, Inventory and Monitoring Program, National Park Service
  • Dave Theobald, Conservation Science Partners

GIS & Visualizations

  • Ned Gardiner (NOAA)
  • Healy Hamilton (NatureServe)
  • Kathi Koontz (CAS)
  • Cynthia Powell (CalFlora)
  • Ka Chun Yu (DMNS)

Production Coordination

  • Kathi Koontz (CAS)

Technical Support

  • Ka Chun Yu
  • Greg Mancari