Mary Lambert Backs National Park Service
#FindYourParkcampaign with new slam poem.
We know Same Love singer Mary Lambert as an artist, poet, and LGBT advocate with a passion for music, culture, and positive body image. She’s now adding another slightly less conventional passion to that list: Parks!
"In my lifetime, parks have been much more than a place. I have created some of my best work in wide green spaces,sharing poetry and music with those that I love," said Mary Lambert. "And, they are also places that tell my story too. I'm grateful to the National Park Service for their efforts to tell a more inclusive story that commemorates the places and events that honor LGBT history." – Mary Lambert
Lambert has become a Centennial Ambassador for the National Park Service. As a part of this partnership with the NPS, Mary has filmed a Find Your Park story at the Boston National Historical Park; she wrote a slam poetry piece about self and body love and explored the park with friends.Lambert took time out to talk to me about her own experiences surrounding the Find Your Park campaign.
What motivated you to want to be a part of the Find Your Park campaign?
I felt like it was a unique opportunity that not everyone gets the chance to be a part of. To me, the Find Your Park campaign is part of an ongoing process that I've been trying to foster in my own life- it's extending a hand to the people around you. Sometimes I feel like I'm consumed in social media and all of the various forms of technology. I find myself more and more disconnected to the natural world around me. I think a lot of people feel that way, and I think a lot of people are hungry for honest connection. I've spent a lot of time in our national parks; in writing circles, reading, playing my guitar, so it was a no brainer to join this wholesome campaign.
Were you a regular park visitor before the campaign was brought to your attention?
Absolutely! I'm a park girl. Also, park dates are the best dates! The opportunities are endless. I'm a huge fan of playing softball or football in a park and then winding down with a picnic.
In regards to you finding your park, what about the park inspired connections with self and body love for the poem you wrote on your shoot?
I wrote several poems for the Find Your Park video shoot. I have a close emotional tie to the parks in Boston, more than anything else. When I was 19, I traveled to Boston for the national collegiate poetry slam (CUPSI), and fell in love with the city. As soon as I got off the train in Boston Common, I felt a kindred connection with the park. Everyone was reading! I saw a sea of noses in books and I sat right down along on a park bench and worked my way through a chapter. It felt like home.
Do you always prefer to be creative in natural settings?
I definitely have different processes. Although as a general guideline for my writing, music is usually made indoors when I can have ready access to a piano. There are times I take my guitar out into the natural world and write that way, but it's not the first thing that comes to mind. When I think about my relationship to the parks campaign, I'm reminded that the times I have written any pieces in a park, it has been in a group with other artists. I think that's the general theme of what this campaign means to me. It's about social connection through nature.
How do you feel this campaign ties in with your LGBT advocacy (if at all)?
If I've learned anything being out for a decade, it's that there is an unparalleled necessity for safe spaces. For places that can't discriminate you based on your class or ethnicity or age or sexuality or disability. Parks are the ultimate inclusive space—they're for everybody. Additionally, I had another realization being a part of this campaign; a tonof historical monuments are part of the Parks department, including Stonewall in New York City, which is something incredible.A historical landmark of gay rights happened right there, and the fact that it is a national park, is pretty damn cool.There is no discrimination when it comes to the Parks, and that's the way it should be.
Why do you feel this campaign is important?
This campaign is important because people need parks. And parks need people. It is easy to feel disconnected in our world when we are bombarded with sensory overload, have ready access to all of our "friends", but still find ourselves behind a computer screen. Sometimes it's important to lay in the grass, or put your feet in water, or play catch or kiss someone underneath trees or play hot lava monster on a jungle gym. So, be sure to check out your local parks—you may be surprised what you discover there!
First Lady Michelle Obama recently filmed her Find Your Park story, highlighting President’s Park, home to the White House, and her family's connection to one of the newest national parks, Pullman National Monument in Chicago.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 407 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at: www.nps.gov.