Guests and volunteers gain awareness at BYU’s ‘Trailblazing the National Parks’ event

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Children sat on the floor holding fake marshmallows on sticks and listening to campfire stories. Other kids created bird feeders by decorating water bottles. Meanwhile, parents took photos of their progeny with Cosmo.

At the BYU Museum of Art on Saturday, June 4, 1,500 people congregated to embrace National Parks and art at this year’s family arts festival “Trailblazing the National Parks.”

Volunteers wore ranger hats and helped families through a variety of stations focused on the new exhibit in the museum. Children played games, learned about environmentalism and participated in two art projects.

Bucy, Larsen and Stevens families enjoy decorating and beading their recycled water bottles. (Natalie Saunders)
Bucy, Larsen and Stevens families enjoy decorating and beading their recycled water bottles. (Natalie Saunders)

The “Trailblazing the National Parks” event was spearheaded by Lynda Palma, head of Visitor and Volunteer Services, as well as BYU students Katie Hughes, Chiara Sorensen and Maren Hatch.

Hosting a family arts festival has been a tradition since the museum opened in 1993.

Natalie Saunders
Lynda Palma was the mastermind behind the Family Art Festival at the MOA. (Natalie Saunders)

“We tried to make it an educational endeavor and, at the same time, a whole lot of fun,” Palma said.

The Bean Life Museum hosted a wild animal show at the BYU Museum of Art during the event. It was a favorite among children, according to Palma. Children loved the show because they were invited to see and touch wild animals.

Beyond having fun, volunteers at the event also emphasized the experience as a learning opportunity for both children and BYU students.

Palma said the event allowed children to try out different interests: art, geology, science, animals, environmentalism and spirituality.

Children were able to find out more about what their own personal interests might be, Palma said.

Children learned first aid. Others were invited to commit to a self-created environmental project the week following the event.

“Lots of this is about taking care of the environment and animals,” said Sera Pack, a sophomore volunteering at the events.

Sorenson, a senior studying art history, said the event allowed children to begin interacting with the arts.

“I think it just teaches kids to think differently,” Sorenson said.

Palma also thought BYU students gained experience from assisting at the event. She enjoyed seeing Hughes, Sorenson and Hatch become invested in planning.

“Working with and mentoring students is one of the most vital things we do,” Palma said.

The three students worked for months brainstorming ideas for games and building props for various stations. More than 40 students, volunteers and employees came together to make the festival happen.

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