Shelton Johnson of Yosemite National Park and Ravis Henry of Canyon de Chelly National Monument helped put the National Park Service’s scant diversity on display during opening ceremonies of the 8th World Ranger Congress on Sunday, May 22, at YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colo.

Celebrating the park service centennial this year, the U.S. is a first-time host of the triennial gathering of park rangers from nearly 70 countries.

Johnson delivered a stirring opening keynote address, prompting a standing ovation, then performed his storied role of Sgt. Elizy Boman, a Buffalo Soldier, during the nighttime sessions featuring American culture. Henry gave a presentation of Navajo culture during the evening session and earlier delivered the welcoming address in his native Navajo during the opening ceremonies.

In addition to plenary and breakout sessions, the delegates later took field trips to nearby Rocky Mountain National Park and are scheduled to hear addresses from author Terry Tempest Williams and NPS director Jon Jarvis.

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