Proceedings of the First Park Naturalists’ Training Conference, November 1 to 30, 1929
THE RESEARCH PROGRAM IN THE NATIONAL PARKS
SOLVING SCIENTIFIC PROBLEMS THROUGH COOPERATION OF ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS FROM OUTSIDE THE PARK.
By Edwin D. McKee
In every one of the national parks there undoubtedly arises from time to time either the necessity or the desirability of finding certain definite scientific facts. This requirement may be in conjunction with park development or it may be related to material used in the educational program, or indeed it may be for any of several other possible uses. Frequently some member of the Park Educational Service’s personnel may be qualified and able to solve the problem. It is important, however, with such a number and variety of fields as are likely to offer problems, that the cooperation and assistance of outside organizations frequently be sought.
Outside assistance and cooperation may be obtained in numerous ways. When scientists of note are among the park visitors it is usually possible to enlist their expert advice or to obtain the benefits of their experience. They are for the most part very glad to help. Unfortunately, however, these visits do not often come at the times of greatest need, so that the park naturalist must necessarily go outside and bring in assistance. For this reason, it seems advisable that every park naturalist should arrange for some kind of co-operative service with representatives of outside organizations in practically every field. There are today splendid opportunities for such work – usually it is chiefly a matter of making personal contacts and of enlisting interest.
It is advisable for the park naturalist to maintain a file of addresses of men and organizations best qualified to assist in solving scientific problems. Frequently these investigators can be called upon for personal help.
It was recognized as important that ultimately there be a group of scientific advisors for each park. These men could frequently be called upon by the park naturalist for advice in their individual fields and could assist in planning research problems. Also they might be in a position to further efforts to secure outside help in individual parks.