(Washington, D.C.) June 18, 2013 - The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, has awarded $66,000 in grants to three national parks through its Parks Climate Challenge program. Now in its fourth year, this program provides teachers with the training and resources they need to teach climate change in a hands-on and engaging way that uses national parks as living classrooms.
"By supporting teacher training in national parks, the Parks Climate Challenge program helps spread the word about how our changing climate affects national parks,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “This is important work because Parks Climate Challenge teachers learn about climate change from park scientists, technicians and interpretive park rangers and when they return to their classrooms, share their knowledge with students who are the future stewards of America’s national parks.”
“More and more we are seeing the impacts of climate change and it is imperative that we give future generations the knowledge they need to understand this environmental reality,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “Parks Climate Challenge empowers both teachers and students through hands-on experiences in our national parks that show them first-hand some of the actual effects of climate change and teaches them what individuals can do to preserve and protect our treasured places.”
Parks Climate Challenge first connects National Park Service staff with educators over the summer through nationally relevant and replicable teacher trainings that provide teachers with the tools to create engaging curriculum and hands-on service projects with their students. In addition, a wealth of online resources, including lesson plans and instructional videos, is made available to teachers at www.parksclimatechallenge.org.
Teachers then engage students in locally relevant service-learning projects throughout the school year to deepen their understanding of climate change. Some teachers are even able to bring their students on field trips to the national parks they are studying. The opportunity for first-hand experiences in America’s national parks helps strengthen the students’ connection to these living classrooms, while empowering and growing the next generation of park stewards.
The national parks participating in the 2013 Parks Climate Challenge program include:
- Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin
- Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
- Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada
The Parks Climate Challenge lesson plans and instructional videos are available online to teachers everywhere. Educators can use the free online resources to train themselves and replicate the Parks Climate Challenge model in their own communities across the nation. Learn more at www.parksclimatechallenge.org.
The National Park Foundation wishes to thank the Bayer USA Foundation and Inner Spark Foundation for their generous support of the Parks Climate Challenge program.
For more information on the National Park Foundation or how you can support and protect America’s national parks, please visit www.nationalparks.org. For more information on the National Park Service, please visit www.nps.gov.