ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, Maine — A Maine entrepreneur announced Saturday that he would donate $1 million as initial funding for collaborative programs between the National Park Service, Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and other institutions.
David Evans Shaw, 65, of Scarborough made the announcement at Sieur de Monts on Park Science Day to highlight the park’s role as a living laboratory and vital setting for scientific research in celebration of Acadia’s centennial.
The Second Century collaboration initially will focus on science issues associated with Acadia National Park, Shaw said in a press release. The initiative will offer fellowships for park-based investigations and connect the scientists and their research with educators, students and the public to support science understanding, appreciation of the natural world and park stewardship both locally and nationally.
In announcing the plan, Shaw paid tribute to the historic significance of the 100th birthday of the National Park Service this year.
“Teddy Roosevelt reflected the sentiment of many Americans when he said this about our national parks: ‘We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received,’” Shaw said Saturday. “The national park system, including more than 400 parks and monuments, attracts more than 300 million visits annually. It is a blessing to Americans and the world.
“Modern science provides us with unprecedented ability to be wise stewards of these special places and cultural treasures, for the benefit of future generations,” he said. “And parks offer exceptional opportunities for important scientific research and inspirational education.”
Acadia National Park Superintendent Kevin Schneider applauded the effort.
“We are very grateful for David Shaw’s leadership in making science a centerpiece of our centennial,” he said in the press release. “Our National Parks have always been perceived as a place for recreation, but now we need to communicate to the public that parks are places for science, a place to inform science literacy in our nation. This partnership with Schoodic Institute and AAAS will allow us to do just that.”
Rush Holt, head of AAAS, also commended the partnership in the press release.
“David Shaw’s gift will create an unprecedented partnership that will not only open up new opportunities for science in the national parks, it will also inspire people to take better care of our planet as they learn about the challenges facing park ecosystems and get excited about the science that will help protect them — and the role that each individual can play,” he said.
Shaw is managing partner of Black Point Group LP, with wide-ranging interests in technology companies and public service. He serves as a director and treasurer of AAAS, as a trustee of the National Park Foundation, and as executive producer of the film “Second Century.” The film was scheduled to premiere at the Acadia event Saturday.