National Park Foundation Grants Help Parks Develop Climate-Change Programs For Youth

Eight units of the National Park System are splitting $164,000 for use in developing climate-change programs that teachers can use to help their students understand the changing world around us.

The funding, made available through the National Park Foundation, helps parks work with teachers to develop engaging curriculum for their students on the subject of climate change. The program provides the educators both in-person training, and a wealth of online resources to draw from.

Each selected park could receive up to $21,500 (budgets are presented as part of the grant application), but for all grants, $5,000 must be allotted to bringing the students into the parks.

The parks are tasked with providing teachers with the platform, information and tools to develop hands-on climate-change projects. The teachers in turn create dynamic lessons for their students incorporating national park experiences either within or outside the boundaries of a national park. Teachers will also lead their students on field trips to the parks they are studying to deepen their understanding of climate change and their connection to the national parks.

Since 2009, the Parks Climate Challenge program has encouraged the use of national parks as classrooms to educate students about climate change through funding and facilitation. The ability to learn about this important issue through hands-on, science-based field curriculum, has proven an positive model through which to reach students.

“Climate change is a profound problem and the youth of America need to be at the forefront of the solution,” said Neil Mulholland, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “The Parks Climate Challenge is just one of our programs that empowers our youth and strengthens our parks.”

The parks participating in the 2012 Parks Climate Challenge program include:

· Glacier National Park, Montana

· Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts

· Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin

· Capulin Volcano National Monument, New Mexico

· Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada

· Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

· Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

· National Mall and Memorial Parks, Washington, D.C.

Though these grant recipients will participate directly in the National Park Foundation program, teachers everywhere can utilize the unique and versatile program model to replicate the value learnings and strategies nationally through the online site www.parksclimatechallenge.org.