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Back to School in America's National Parks

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Date: September 13, 2013
Contact: David Elkowitz, 432-477-1108

Teachers across the Big Bend National Park area have a new tool to help them engage their students in classroom and place-based learning.

Today the National Park Service (NPS) launched a new online service for teachers that brings America's national parks, including Big Bend National Park, into neighborhood classrooms. The new "Teachers" section of the National Park Service website at www.nps.gov/teachers provides a one-stop shop for curriculum-based lesson plans, traveling trunks, maps, activities, distance learning, and other resources. All of the materials draw from the spectacular natural landscapes and authentic places preserved in America's national parks.

"Big Bend National Park has long welcomed area students to the park for field trips and teacher Workshops," said Cindy Ott-Jones, superintendent of Big Bend National Park." And now, through the new 'Teachers' National Park Service website, all 401 national parks are throwing open the doors and inviting teachers and students to learn about literature using a lesson plan from Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, borrow a traveling trunk from Lava Beds National Monument, chat online with a ranger at the Grand Canyon National Park, or visit Mt. McKinley in Denali National Park." 

Big Bend National Park's website offers a wide range of educational materials and resources for teachers. Teachers will find TEKS developed, curriculum-based materials covering the natural and cultural history of this unique area. In addition, opportunities for professional development and information for a park classroom visit are available. Please visit www.nps.gov/bibe and follow the For Teachers link for these resources.

The site is searchable by location, keyword, and more than 125 subjects, from archeology, to biology, to Constitutional law. Teachers will, for the first time, be able to rate NPS-provided content. In addition to park-created content, the site also features educational materials created by NPS national programs like the National Register of Historic Places and its award-winning Teaching with Historic Placesseries of 147 lesson plans.

The website is just one part of the National Park Service's ongoing commitment to education. Every year, national parks offer more than 57,000 educational programs that serve nearly three million students in addition to 563,000 interpretive programs attended by 12.6 million visitors. The NPS is working with partners and educational institutions to expand programs and encourage the use of parks as places of learning. The NPS has partnered with the Department of Education to integrate national park resources into core curriculums. Each summer, teachers across the country are hired to work in parks to develop curriculum-based programs based on park resources through the Teacher-Ranger-Teacher program.

To learn more about the National Park Service's education programs, visit www.nps.gov/teachers.

About the National Park Service.  More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.  Learn more at www.nps.gov  Visit us on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtub.com/nationalparkservice.

Did You Know?

1855 Map of the Big Bend region

The Big Bend area of Texas derives its name from its location on the bend of the Rio Grande. The river creates a natural border that separates the United States from Mexico. More...