American Express, yes the credit card company, announced a partnership with Games for Change to develop a mobile game designed to galvanize the public to volunteer in national parks. “Save the Park,” is now available for free exclusively on iOS devices. The game was created through a $250,000 grant from American Express, which complements the company’s multi-year, $5 million commitment to help the Department of the Interior achieve its goal of increasing community volunteers in national parks and on public lands to one million annually by 2017.
Save the Park features four characters who accomplish volunteer tasks in three different parks, challenging players to experience in a virtual environment the impact they can have on park conservation and stewardship. The idea behind the game is to try and embed calls-to-action encouragement to players, so they can explore real-world volunteer opportunities in national parks.
To develop Save the Park, Games for Change brought on Schell Games, a leading educational game developer that has produced games for PBS Kids, the Fred Rogers Company, and Walt Disney, among others.
Save the Park allows players to virtually experience the types of volunteer activities that support parks and the critical care taking role volunteers play. The game also introduces facts about specific national parks to help create a greater emotional connection between the player and these treasured places.
Players are encouraged to visit NPS.gov to explore volunteer opportunities in their local communities and join the hundreds of thousands of volunteers that help maintain trails, provide visitor services, give guided nature walks and historic tours, support preservation initiatives and deliver education programs to youth and school groups in National Parks. They can also share elements of the game experience socially.
Founded in 2004, Games for Change is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the creation and distribution of social impact games that serve humanitarian, social and educational efforts. “Games for Change shares an affinity with American Express in the importance of gaming in the advancement of society,” said Susanna Pollack, president of Games for Change. “Through our partnership, we are excited to mobilize a new generation of volunteers to preserve and revitalize America’s treasured natural parks.”
“Volunteering is one of the best ways to get up, get out and find your park,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “With more than 400 parks across the country that protect and preserve America’s landscapes, culture and history, we can’t do it alone, and volunteers serve important roles in many of our national parks. We thank American Express and Games for Change for supporting our efforts to inspire a new generation to serve our parks.”
The American Express Foundation will make a $1 donation to the National Park Foundation for each download of Save the Park occurring on or before December 31, 2016, up to $50,000. The donation will support NPF’s park conservation and stewardship work.