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Harpers Ferry, C&O Canal parks to get grant

By Staff | Aug 11, 2014

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park and Harpers Ferry National Historical Park are among 28 national parks selected to receive a 2014 Park Stewards grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks.

The Park Stewards Grant will support the development of a Citizens Scientists Program at the C&O Canal NHP. At Harpers Ferry NHP, students will become environmental stewards through the Park Stewards Grant.

Now in its sixth year, this program gives high school teachers and students the opportunity to explore the relevance of national parks to their lives, and enables them to become civically engaged stewards of their national parks through yearlong service-learning projects.

“With our Park Stewards program, teachers and students are able to explore science, nature, sustainability and more through America’s largest living classrooms – our national parks,” said Neil Mulholland, president and chief executive officer of the National Park Foundation.

The Citizen Scientists Program at the C&O Canal NHP will feature a curriculum-based education program involving water quality monitoring, macroinvertebrate stream analysis and invasive plant identification as well as a service-learning component that will allow students to continue data collection throughout the school year and develop a model for service learning that is replicable year after year. The program will support the Common Core Curriculum Standards, the Maryland Environmental Literacy Standards, and the Next Generation Science Standards.

The program at Harpers Ferry NHP will teach students how to become environmental stewards through a series of self-selected projects, such as water quality monitoring, cleaning trails, developing trash-free/recycling projects, conducting Appalachian Trail conservation work, creating videos for youth park visitors, and helping a Natural Resource Management team with inventorying and monitoring as with the deer population. The high school youth also will mentor elementary youth.

University of Phoenix is now serving in its third year as the program’s official educational sponsor.

The National Park Foundation also thanks Subaru of America for its generous support of the Park Stewards program.

Since 2009, the Park Stewards program has made it possible for 110 high school teachers to work in parks over their summer break, creating engaging curriculum to teach to their students in the coming school year. During their time in the parks, the teachers and park staff also develop service-learning projects for students to take part in during the school year. The projects tie to state academic standards and make meaningful impacts in the national parks. Examples of projects include monitoring water quality, creating digital history apps, hosting a BioBlitz and designing art sculptures.

In addition, two students from each grantee school team will be selected for summer internships that will help support and grow their interest in national parks and the National Park Service.

The National Park Foundation also wishes to thank Subaru of America for its generous support of the Park Stewards program.

For more information on the National Park Foundation and how to support and protect America’s national parks, visit www.nationalparks.org.