The Gary E. Everhardt

Park Break Program

gws_logo_web version.jpg

The Gary E. Everhardt Park Break Program is a week-long, park-based fellowship and field seminar for graduate students who are seriously thinking about a career in park management or park-related research and education.  Students explore topics of importance to the host park and interact with park researchers, natural and cultural resource managers, and policymakers.

Since being created by GWS in 2007, over 100 students have participated in Park Breaks.  Starting in 2019, Park Break is co-organized by the Clemson University Institute for Parks and the George Wright Society. The program now honors Gary E. Everhardt, the ninth director of the US National Park Service (NPS).

Park Break is a fellowship program -- all student expenses are covered!

Plans are in the works for the next Park Break session -- check back here regularly for an announcement.  In the meantime, read on for more information, or you can download the Park Break flyer.


What’s unique about Park Break?

  • Top-level students: Masters & PhDs; 8 per session

  • Students interact with park professional staff and external partners

  • Mix of classroom and field-based activities

  • Each session has a specific theme; for example:

    • Energy development impacts on park

    • Making NPS historic sites more relevant to diverse communities

  • Students assigned a specific project related to theme; for example:

    • Students created a lesson module on energy impacts for a local environmental education center

    • Students reflected on their own experiences (6 of the 8 students were people of color) with heritage preservation sites

  • Highly competitive: over 100 applicants for each of the past two sessions

What is the Park Break Perspectives Series?

The Park Break Perspectives Series, launched in 2010,  is a a set of web-based research papers and essays produced by graduate students who have taken part in Park Break.  The papers were developed in consultation with faculty members, park scientists, and other park professionals.  Park Break Perspectives offers fresh looks at perennial and emerging issues through the eyes of up-and-coming scholars — the next generation of park leaders.