Nearly $200,000 in funding to help high school teachers and their students gain a better grasp of national parks, and a sense of stewardship for them, has been made possible by the National Park Foundation and the University of Phoenix.
The 2013 program is being supported by a grant of $187,000 from the University of Phoenix.
“This innovative program provides critical support and access to teachers so that parks nationwide can be utilized as the living classrooms they are,” said Neil Mulholland, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “Through this unique collaboration, and subsequent development of rich, relevant curriculum, the Park Stewards teachers create a life-long connection to America’s national parks for their students.”
Since 2009, the Park Stewards program has made it possible for 88 high school teachers to work in parks over the summer break, creating curriculum that will then be taught to their students in the coming school year. During the summer, the teachers and park staff also develop service-learning projects that will be implemented by high school students throughout the course of the school year.
The projects which include monitoring toxic mercury levels, grazing patterns of bison and cattle, soil and water quality or mammal populations, tie to state academic standards and are meaningful to the national parks. The 2013 Park Stewards program will also select one student from each grantee school team for a summer internship to help support and build their interest in their national parks and the National Park Service.
“Whether through school field trips to parks, virtual visits or curricula developed in parks, national parks are natural learning environments,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “Students benefit when we connect them to parks and these teachers will help them become better stewards of our national parks.”
The 2013 Park Stewards grantees include:
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Assateague Island National Seashore
Aztec Ruins National Monument
Badlands National Park
Capulin Volcano National Monument
Catoctin Mountain Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Grand Canyon National Park
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site
Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park
Natchez Trace Parkway
National Mall and Memorial Parks
River Raisin National Battlefield Park
Saguaro National Park
San Juan Island National Historical Park
San Juan National Historic Site
For more information about the participating parks, please visit the National Park Foundation website.