A ‘Happy Birthday' Fit for Our Parks

It's the National Park Service's centennial, and a new version of an old song sweetly strings together park-perfect sounds.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOUUUUU: If you were to warble "Happy Birthday" to someone while the two of you both happened to be inside a national park, how would go about singing it? It depends, really, if you're both on a deserted beach (you'd croon a bit loudly, we imagine, to match the crash of the waves) or inside the dining room of a venerable old lodge (you'd sing very quietly, we'd surmise, in order not to disturb the other diners' meals). But it turns out that a big ol' "Happy Birthday" sung in the esteemed direction of the National Park Service, on the occasion of its centennial, involves a bit more than modulating the volume of one's voice or the lyrics the singer chooses to emphasize. 

A CHARMING NEW VERSION... was just released by the National Park Foundation, the official charity to our park system. This isn't the traditional "Happy Birthday" you heard the last time you were in a restaurant; rather the melody is made up of various natural or park-found sounds, from a ranger's easy whistling to the toot of a train. A bee's buzz, a frog's croak, the unzipping of a tent, a whale call, and other nature-based tones and hums fill out the song's festive edges.

CENTENNIAL EVENTS... are happening throughout 2016, but let's tip our hat to National Park Week, which runs from April 16 through 24. One sweet bonus? Entry to all parks is free.

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