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Home arrowNews arrowAugust 7 , 2012

First Lady Designates New Preserve America Steward

First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama has signed a designation letter recognizing the Branch Brook Park Alliance as the newest Preserve America Steward, bringing the nationwide total of designated Preserve America Stewards to 36 nationwide.

“Preserve America Stewards are volunteer programs that have accomplished successful efforts in preserving the nation’s historic places,” said Milford Wayne Donaldson, FAIA, chairman of the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP). “Historic preservation has always relied upon motivated, active volunteers who understand that it is an individual as well as community responsibility to make certain that significant historic places remain to enrich and enlighten present and future generations.”

Volunteers with the Branch Brook Park Alliance have been working to preserve historic Branch Brook Park in Newark, New Jersey, since establishment of the organization in 1999. The Branch Brook Park Alliance works in partnership with Essex County to preserve, rehabilitate, and revitalize America’s first county park, which dates to 1895 and was designed by the firm of Frederick Law Olmsted.

“Newark is one of our nation’s oldest and most historic cities, and the narrative of American history is written in the buildings, streets, and neighborhoods of our beloved ‘Brick City,’ ” said Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker. “My administration is committed to protecting our great architectural and spatial heritage, as a central part of our efforts to transform our City and restore its grandeur. We are proud that the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and First Lady Michelle Obama have recognized the outstanding leadership and commitment of the Branch Brook Park Alliance in maintaining our Branch Brook Park as one of Newark’s great natural preserves and visitor attractions. This designation is a tribute to the energy, unity, and love that our residents give to our beloved City.”

Preserve America Stewards designation recognizes organizations that have demonstrated a successful use of volunteer time and commitment in order to help care for our historic heritage. Through such programs, historic and archaeological site stewards in many parts of the country keep a watchful eye on important and remote resources and alert authorities when such sites are threatened by thoughtless vandalism or other threats. Other volunteers serve as interpretive docents at historic properties, assist with repairs, and help out with research activities. Still others keep historic places inviting and free of trash, maintain the landscaping that makes them attractive and welcoming to visitors, and otherwise offer their time and talent to help preserve and present our heritage.

Applications from prospective new Preserve America Stewards are accepted quarterly; the next deadline for submission is September 1, 2012. For more information, including designation criteria and application forms, see www.preserveamerica.gov/stewards.html. Preserve America is administered by the ACHP with assistance from the U.S. Department of the Interior.

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