The Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower Historic Site will mark the National Park Service's 100th birthday with special events and programs throughout 2016.

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A wine and paint night, wellness walk and a battlefield-inspired art program in Gettysburg are among the activities planned for the National Park Service's year-long centennial celebration.

The Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site will wish the National Park Service a happy birthday this year with a slate of community events, according to a news release from the federal agency. The celebration's theme, "Find Your Park," aims to make the public aware of the country's many parks and all they have to offer.

"America's national parks are beautiful, emotional places," Ed. W. Clark, superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site, said in the news release. "Places like Gettysburg National Military Park, Flight 93 National Memorial and the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail tell us more about who we are and help us understand history. Many parks are natural wonders that offer scenic getaways, wildlife viewing and other adventures. The centennial is about celebration, discovery and making new connections."

Birthday events scheduled in Gettysburg include:

  • "Come Walk with Me" community wellness center - The park and several community partners will host a large-scale fitness fair and walking event at Warrior Stadium in Gettysburg on April 30. The event will include a group-walk through the park's Culp's Hill. To register, visit adamscountycomewalkwithme.org.
  • Gettysburg BioBlitz - Students from Gettysburg Area School District will enjoy biodiversity discovery activities May 20 at Lincoln Elementary School's stadium, woodlot and pond, as well as nearby national park lands. The activities will focus on reptiles, amphibians, plants, birds, mammals, aquatic macro-invertebrates and possibly acoustical data from bats. The event's goal is to inspire passion and excitement about the works of scientists, catalyze a new awareness of parks as classrooms and create a new generation of "citizen scientists and future stewards" of the parks. 

  • The Gettysburg/Appomattox Centennial Student Exchange Program - Students from Gettysburg and Appomattox, Virginia will visit and participate in events at each other's national parks. Gettysburg students will travel to Appomattox for its Civil War battle anniversary in April. The program is sponsored by the National Park Service, Gettysburg Foundation and the Appomattox Foundation. 
  • Presidential Paint and Wine Nights at Eisenhower National Historic Site - Attendees will tour the Eisenhower home and hear a ranger talk about Eisenhower's hobby of oil painting. They will also view some of President Dwight D. Eisenhower's original paintings, followed by painting instruction and refreshments. The next paint and wine night is scheduled for May 19. To register, visit adamsarts.org.

  • Expanded artists-in-residence programs - Eight month-long residencies at the Gettysburg park will begin in March and run through November. Artists will craft works inspired by their time at the battlefield. Public programs will include First Friday events at the Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad Station. For details, visit nationalparksartsfoundation.org
  • Centennial Classroom Rangers - Park rangers and staff will visit Gettysburg area schools to discuss local national parks and the value of the national park system. More details can be found on the National Park Service's website.
  • Every Kid in a Park - Fourth grade students may visit the David Wills House at Gettysburg National Military Park and the Eisenhower National Historic Site for free in 2016. For details and to obtain a free entry pass, visit everykidinapark.gov

Other events in the works include a marathon organized by Gettysburg community organizations and a farm-to-table event at the Eisenhower National Historic Site.

The Gettysburg Foundation will also join in the celebration by funding projects that address long-term preservation needs at Cemetery Ridge and Little Round Top, according to the news release.

To learn more about the National Park Service's centennial celebration, visit nps.gov.

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