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‘Global Connections’ series at NMSU hosts talk about the country’s national parks

As part of the centennial celebration of the nation’s National Park Service, New Mexico State University History Professor Jon Hunner took a sabbatical to crisscross the country visiting various national parks and write firsthand about his experiences in a blog called “Driven by History.”


Wooden railing with ribbons and monument in the distance
The Japanese internment camp at Manzanar, California. (Photo by Jon Hunner)
Concrete mold of a leg
A monument to Benedict Arnold's leg at the Saratoga Battlefield, New York. (Photo by Jon Hunner)
Statue of Liberty with tourists taking photos at her feet
The Statue of Liberty. Photo taken by Jon Hunner on the 100th birthday of the National Park Service.

In February, Hunner began writing a book – a history of the United States through the lens of the National Parks where the historic events actually happened. He will share a sneak preview with the community in special presentation at 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 11 the College of Heath and Social Services auditorium, Room 101A.

“We became who we are as a country because of the encounters, the exchanges that happened at these parks,” Hunner said. “They really are one of the best places where we can get directly connected with our past.”

This is the seventh year the College of Arts and Sciences has offered its “Global Connections” series, which features faculty members’ trips around the world. The purpose is to provide an opportunity for members of the campus and surrounding community to listen and ask questions of NMSU professors about the kind of global first-hand experiences they might never otherwise encounter.

Hunner’s research took him across the United States, exploring parks like Death Valley and Yellowstone, as well as historic sites such as The Statue of Liberty and Brown v. Board of Education in Kansas.

For those who can’t make the transcontinental trek to explore the nation’s parks, there are plenty of interesting locations close to home.

While most residents in this area likely have visited White Sands National Monument or Carlsbad Caverns National Park, but may not realize that local historic districts – including Mesquite, Alameda and Mesilla Park – are also the result of National Park Service programs.

The “Global Connections” series is free and open to the public. To learn more about Hunner’s travels, visit drivenbyhistory.blogspot.com.