Final Blog Post

Overall, I really enjoyed completing this project. Throughout the process, I learned a lot from the actual material of the history of Yellowstone and the National Park Service, to the process of researching, compiling and analyzing information, and crediting sources. This project fit my interests very well because nature is very appealing to me; I love being in nature, and enjoying what nature has to offer. Not only have I been to over a third of the nation’s 58 current national parks, but this year is also the National Park Service’s Centennial, making this project even more special. Sadly, with the development and urbanization of the country and the world, we are losing precious lands every day.

One of the things that intrigued me the most was the development and early years of Yellowstone National Park. Originally, Yellowstone was included in the land purchased as part of the Louisiana Purchase. The Corps of Discovery with Lewis and Clark were the first Americans to visit Yellowstone. As we learned in class, during the mid 1800s, as manifest destiny and westward expansion spread through the country, many people visited and documented western lands, including Yellowstone. As a result, Yellowstone was established for its natural beauty (I did not know before that a law had to be passed in order to establish the park for protection, conservation, and human enjoyment). I found it to be interesting that for the first couple decades, the park was poorly funded and unprotected, so many tourists came and harmed the wildlife and park. The lack of funds does make sense, considering that the country was going through Civil War Reconstruction and a financial crisis (Panic of 1873) during this time. I would not have thought before that there would be no protection of the park for a couple decades, considering the level of management that the National Park Service has established today. I learned that the National Park Service was established in 1916, after Yellowstone National Park, even though it sought the same goals as the park. As we learned in class, the National Park System was established during a time heavily influenced by the Progressive Movement and Teddy Roosevelt’s conservation movement.

While researching, I found it awful how Yellowstone once had a problem of overhunting wolves. Being a national park, it is interesting how the hunting of wolves was one tolerated and even encouraged. By removing one link in the food chain, nature’s balance is completely thrown off. Although Yellowstone’s wolves are now protected today, they remain endangered. George actually found out that some biotech companies are trying to extract bacteria from some geysers in order to create new pharmaceuticals. This kind of blew my mind; bacteria living in the hot geothermal vents might have the capability to help create life changing drugs. The impact of tourists on these protected lands is alarming, but not new information to me. However, I did not think that these issues are that bad, considering the way the National Park Service is effectively coping with them today.

Throughout the project, I learned a lot about the research process. What stuck with me the most is respecting authors and creators of work by crediting them for their work through citations. Every picture or piece of text used had to be credited. In general, I learned how to better conduct research and manage all the sources I used. Also, I have become much more proficient at editing videos using Windows Live Movie Maker.

This project really connected with my personal interests and passions. I really enjoy nature, including being in nature and experiencing what it has to offer, such as hiking, fishing, and seeing wonderful things. I have been to over a third of the nation’s national parks, including Yellowstone, and completing this project makes me want to go back to Yellowstone and visit other parks. Our timing of the project could not have been more perfect, with this year being the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the National Park Service.

In conclusion, I learned a lot during this project. I found out new things about the history of Yellowstone and National Parks, while also learning about the research process. I really enjoyed this project, as it fit my personal interests and passions well, since I am an ourdoors person. Sadly, with the development and urbanization of the country and the world, we are losing precious lands every day, making each and every national park even more valuable.



Project Update

After hearing about the extra credit for turning in our project early, George and I had another debate about whether or not to make a video or a podcast. We have been flip flopping between the two ideas for a while and can’t decide on one. With the earlier project due date, we are going to try to finish a podcast as soon as possible and if there is any time remaining, we will go ahead and make a video. However, we aren’t sure if this is doable considering that we don’t have many days left until the due date. A podcast is easier to make but much more boring, since it doesn’t have any visuals to accompany it. However, with a video, we have a lot more sources to incorporate because of all the pictures. Currently, if we were to stick with our podcast, we would not have enough sources to fulfill the minimum but if we make a video, we will have plenty of sources. As of now, we are nearly finished with our script. Once we finish the script, we will record it and turn it into a podcast, and possible overlay images to form a video.

One cool article that we found was by PBS, which details the early history of Yellowstone National Park. Because of its success today, we assumed Yellowstone had a smooth start. However, we learned that this was the complete opposite. For the first couple decades, the park received no federal funding. Because of this they weren’t able to take in many visitors and the park did not protect or preserve any plants, animals, or geologic features. Many people slaughtered animals for game and took pieces of geysers home. A whole geyser was even cut down and taken to the Smithsonian. However, after a couple decades, laws were passed and money was raised to help protect the park.

We haven’t changed our thesis or research question ever since we started researching. Overall, the there haven’t been any surprises large enough to change our thesis and there hasn’t been any related topic with enough information and appeal to change our research question. Our research question still remains “Has the National Park System been successful in achieving their original goals, and to what extent?” Our thesis, also the first paragraph of our script, is “The first national park was established with the goals of preserving the park for the current enjoyment of people as well as those in future generations while protecting and preserving the land, plants, and animals in the park. These goals have been achieved, to a degree, sometimes at a great cost. While the national park system has been successful in preserving and protecting land, some national parks have had poaching issues as well as human interference on the land and in the ecosystem of the parks as a result of the park’s commercialization and increased tourism.” 

HOA Storytelling Format

George and I have decided to present our information in the format of a podcast. We can edit it through one of the Adobe programs. One of us would narrate the podcast, talking about our thesis, question, background information, any research, and the conclusion. On the day of the presentation, we could select five minutes of the podcast to show. We chose a podcast because unlike a slide presentation, a podcast can speak for itself. We considered  making a video but we realized that every visual in the video would have to be off the internet, which would require many citations.

HOA Blog Post #3

One major obstacle that George and I had last class was deciding how to present our project. Originally, we were planning on making a video//documentary. However, since our project deals with the history of Yellowstone National Park and the National Park System, we figured a video would be impractical because the only visuals would be from hundred-year-old photos and videos. It would take a lot of effort to cite that many sources, and none of it would by ours anyways. We also considered making a Google Slides/powerpoint presentation but that seemed too cheesy. Also, a Google Slides presentation seemed too easy and something that slackers would do. As a result, we only really had one option left, which was to make a podcast. We could record ourselves narrating about our topic and not have to worry about any visual aspect of the project.

Another minor obstacle we had was trying to cite some federal acts in MLA format. In Easybib, there were a few options of things to cite but we finally decided on “Federal Statute.” Once we got there, it required information such as chapter, and pages, which we found very hard to do considering that the bills we were citing were over 100 years old. In the end, we filled out as much as we could, but was still partially incomplete.

Finally, one obstacle that we had a couple of weeks ago was trying to narrow down our search. We knew we wanted to study national parks, but didn’t know if we should study their conservation efforts, their original goals, their effects, overhunting, or if we were going to study a specific national park. In the end, we settled on studying Yellowstone and whether or not the National Park Service achieved its original goals.

Other than that, our project is going smoothly and there are no other obstacles. If you think there are any current issues with the project, let George or I know.

HOA Blog Post #2

The best source that I found today while researching in class is this link on the National Park Service’s website. It lists the Yellowstone Protection Act of 1872 word for word, as it was written by Congress. Being a primary source, this source is very important. It will be very helpful because we are are studying the goals and accomplishments of national parks, especially Yellowstone. By gathering information from this Yellowstone Protection Act, we can identify the original goals of the establishment of the first national park.

This source is interesting because it lists the reasons for the establishment of Yellowstone, which are still the goals of the National Park System. According to the website, Yellowstone was established for the enjoyment of people and those who settle on or occupy the land will be considered trespassers. The law gives the Secretary of Interior control of the park and calls for the protection and preservation of the land, plants, and animals in the park. These are all still rules and goals in place today. I also find it interesting how at this time, they were already thinking about the preservation and conservation of land because there was still so much unexplored land and there were not any issues at the time of running out of resources. Also during this time, people hunted animals and destroyed land freely, such as the hunting of the buffalo, so it’s interesting that they decided to set a large piece of land aside for preservation.

We are going to use this source to show the goals of the establishment of Yellowstone National Park, which we can use as the basis to determine whether or not and to what extent National Parks, specifically Yellowstone, have been successful in their goals.

HOA Blog Post #1


George McCoy and I are interested in studying national parks. More specifically, we want to investigate the causes and the establishment of the first national parks, such as Yellowstone. We will investigate how regional vs national interests and natural developments, have led to the perversion of such parks, and the efforts to restore them to their intended states. We will ultimately analyze to what degree national parks have been able to achieve the level of conservation and preservation of natural resources they were initially intended to. For example, Yellowstone National Park was established for a couple reasons. First, it was intended to protect the flora and fauna of the area. Also, the park was established to showcase nature’s beauty and have people be able to visit and see the land. The National Park System has been very effective in protecting flora and fauna as well as providing visitors with wonderful views. However, despite people’s best efforts, Yellowstone is still degrading due to human interference. For example, the overhunting of the wolf has drastically decreased wolf populations, or hot springs being ruined by people throwing money into them. Because Yellowstone was successful in some aspects but unsuccessful in others, we can analyze the effectiveness of which the park was able to achieve the level of conservation and preservation of natural resources that it was initially intended to.

George and I found this topic interesting because it involves many different issues, from environmental to social issues. Also, with the National Park Service celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, now is a great time to research the history of some national parks.

One obstacle that we may encounter is the lack of information. Although we haven’t looked very in-depth for sources, there could be a shortage of publications written about our topic, since it is so obscure. Another obstacle might be effectively conveying our researched information. Our research question is similar to that of an APUSH essay prompt, and might be hard to convey without being boring (like an essay). To overcome this, we plan to make a video along with other resources to present our information.

Blog #3: 2008 as a Turning Point

I think 2008 was a turning point in some aspects, but not the most important turning point from 1980 to the present. 2008 was a turning point both politically and economically. It saw a political shift from a very conservative president George Bush to a liberal president Obama. Both presidents had very different viewpoints across many issues. 2008 was an economic turning point because of the Great Recession; it had started the year before and saw the stock market crash. Although 2008 may seem like a major turning point, I think 2001 was an even bigger turning point. In 2001, the presidents changed from a liberal Bill Clinton to a conservative George Bush, showing a political change. It was also an economic turning point because of the aftermath of the burst of the Dot Com Bubble. In 2001, tech companies did not see an exponential growth like seen in the few years before. 2001 was also a major turning point in foreign relations, especially those with the Middle East and terrorist groups there. As a result of the attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11 masterminded by Bin Laden, America began fighting wars in the Middle East. We can attribute the Iraq War and Afghanistan War to 9/11. Both these wars have been long and drawn out, kind of similar to the Vietnam War, although there hasn’t been as much public anger over the war as did the Vietnam War. These wars and the attack on 9/11 also led to the increase in military spending, which still continues today, which indicates that 2001 was also a turning point in military policy in the United States. In short, from the period 1980 to present day, I think 2008 was a turning point in some aspects, but 2001 was a greater turning point.

Blog Entry #2: The 1980s

My politics do not really align with the “big names” of the 1980s. Out of the three presidents that held office in the 80s, two were republicans, one of which, Ronald Reagan, had very conservative ideas. For example, I do not think it was a good idea for Reagan to cut government programs such as social programs to help the elderly by cutting taxes and putting that money into military spending. We can attribute today’s issue of too much military spending to this issue. Also, I think Reagan was responsible for ending the Cold War because of this. Reagan spent so much money building up the military that Russia eventually went broke trying to keep up with all the new innovations. Because of this, Reagan basically ended the Cold War (although not in the best way possible). This high military spending is still a problem today, since the government is spending so much money on the military which it can be using for more useful things such as social aid. Overall, I do not think Reagan was a good president. Reagan did have good intentions on what he wanted to do for the country, but the way he executed his ideas and the way they turned out caused him to not be a good president. For example, he wanted to cut taxes so that there would be more jobs for people and that they would have more money to invest. This seemed like a good idea but he ended up cutting beneficial social programs and spending that on a military which did not need to be built up any more. Another example was his “Star Wars” idea. The idea itself sounded smart, protecting a country from missiles using lasers but in reality, it was very impractical and unattainable idea for the time. I think life either stayed the same or got a bit worse for Americans under Reagan. Although Reagan didn’t do anything to really hurt America, he certainly did not make things much better. Although he did end the Cold War, he did make bad decisions such as his Reaganomics and Iran-Contra Affair.

Blog Entry #1: Civil Rights Movement and Connections to Today

In our discussion about the Civil Rights Movement, we discussed how some Civil Rights events resulted in new laws and policies, one of which was the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This boycott, started by a middle aged African American woman, Rosa Parks, was ultimately successful in getting Montgomery to desegregate their buses. Rosa Parks was a good focal point, or victim in this incident because she was a middle aged, seemingly innocent woman which appealed to the public, unlike a teenager in a previous racial incident. As a result of the successful boycott, Martin Luther King Jr. emerged as a leader in the civil rights movement because he was so influential and captivating. Although there were changes made, some still argued that not enough change was made, one of which was the Black Panther Party. In the Black Panther Party platform, the authors made a list of issues that needed to be changed immediately, most of which were reasonable demands which included the necessity for freedom, employment, education, etc. Similar to this list of demands of the Black Panther Party platform was a list of demands of the Mizzou students in Concerned Student 1950. Although the Black Panther Party and Concerned Student 1950 occurred decades apart, both bring up similar points about the same core issues happening. Their demands included the removal of the Mizzou president, a handwritten apology, racial awareness, and more equal treatment for blacks. A letter discussing the racial issues at Mizzou accompanied this list of demands. One idea from this that stuck out was that no action against racial discrimination is taken until it reaches media, which needs to be corrected.

The Civil Rights movement of the mid 20th century still has connections today. One important connection today are the black lives matter protests which argue that white policemen are killing blacks just for seeming suspicious or dangerous, stemming from black stereotypes and preconceived notions. This discrimination against blacks is similar to the discrimination against blacks in the Civil Rights Era because whites are oppressing and harming blacks for no reason other than the fact that they were born black. In both time periods, those unhappy with the situation took to (mostly) peaceful protests. Since these issues are still prevalent today, I don’t think the Civil Rights Movement has ended yet. Although conditions are much better today than they were in times before, there are still issues and there are many people who are unhappy with the way blacks are treated compared to whites and other races. We are still a long way from complete equality which people are still fighting for, indicating that we are currently in a Civil Rights Movement.

(Picture of Black Lives Matter protest)


About Me

I am Tyler, an Illinois high school student. Aside from school, my passions include swimming and fishing. I enjoy many classes, including math, science, and United States history. As a person who enjoys science, math, and innovation, the Market Revolution is one of my favorite time periods in US History. I find it really cool how people back then were able to come up with new inventions that greatly increased the efficiency of workers. My favorite of these inventions is the cotton gin because of its complexity (for the time period) and all the moving parts. Also, Eli Whitney, the inventor of the cotton gin not only has a cool name, but also invented other things such as interchangeable parts.