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The Capitol Building in Washington DC
We just returned last night from a week on the east coast where we had a chance to visit the nation’s capitol, take in a few museums, and attend the APPL conference in Baltimore. Unfortunately a wicked storm plastered the entire coast shortly after we arrived, shutting down the airports, the schools, and bringing daytime temperatures into the teens. It was coooold! But undaunted we carried on.

Nick Jorgenson, Lyman Hafen, and Roland Lee receiving publication awards at the 2009 APPL conference in Baltimore
ZNHA board chairman Nick Jorgenson, Executive Director Lyman Hafen, and Vice Chairman Roland Lee display awards received from APPL

The main focus of our trip was the Association of Partners for Public Lands (APPL) Conference in Baltimore. As vice-chairman of The Zion Natural History Association and Zion National Park Foundation, I attended the conference with a group of staff and board members. We were thrilled to receive association awards for the “Century of Sanctuary, Art of Zion National Park” art show and book project which we developed for the Zion Centennial this year. It was an amazing cooperative effort of the National Park Service, Zion Natural History Association, St. George Art Museum, St. George Convention and Visitors Bureau, and other entities, so we were very pleased to be recognized.

Film maker Ken Burns, writer Dayton Duncan, Artist Roland Lee and writer Lyman Hafen at preview showing of The National Parks, America's Best Idea
Award-winning film maker Ken Burns (left) and partner Dayton Duncan (right) meet with Roland Lee and Lyman Hafen prior to preview showing

Another highlight of the conference was a special preview showing of part of the new Ken Burns PBS documentary “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” which will air in September 2009. The week-long 12-hour film takes a new look at the beauty and magnificence of our nation’s treasures through the lives of individuals whose lives were changed by their association with our public lands. Both film maker Ken Burns and his partner and writer, Dayton Duncan shared with us very moving and personal reflections on the impact this 10-year project has had on them. Burns is well-known for previous award-winning PBS projects such as “The Civil War” and “Baseball” but feels this is his best work to date.

Phil and Norma Maestri with Nellie Lee
Norma and Phil Maestri (sitting) with Nellie Lee at their Virginia home

Prior to the conference we enjoyed a brief visit with Phil and Norma Maestri who shared their lovely home with us in Woodbridge Virginia (We also share three wonderful grandkids). They took us on a guided tour of Washington DC where Phil works for the Department of Education. Unfortunately President Obama was too busy to see us personally, but we did get a t-shirt with his picture on it. We also enjoyed the Air and Space Museum, Natural Science Museum, and the Hirshorn Art Museum at the National Mall.

The Air and Space Museum Washington DC
The National Air and Space Museum at the National Mall in Washington DC

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