Lesson Plan

Cape Lookout National Seashore: Preservation vs. Utilization

Sea Turtle Nest Closure and Beach Driving


We will work together to introduce the terms Preservation Conservationist and Utilitarian Conservationist and reasoning behind each in preparation for a classroom debate of the two sides.  Opportunities will be presented to the students for questioning, answering, and researching over the next two visits.  The final visit will result in the debate.


The learner will be able to:

  • Describe the similarities and differences between the Preservation Conservationist and Utilitarian Conservationist philosophies and form an opinion about their own National Park stewardship philosophy 
  • Understand and describe the historical debate between these two philosophies at the beginning of the National Park movement 
  • Using Cape Lookout National Seashore and Cape Hatteras National Seashores as examples formulate a cohesive, knowledgeable position for or against one of these philosophies. 
  • Using examples from policy issues currently being debated within the Cape Lookout National Seashore communities acquire a knowledge base for their opinions 
  • Decide which, if any, philosophy has "won out" over the other or if we are still debating these in today's world and specifically at Cape Lookout National Seashore


Pre-Site Visit Activities: TEACHER COMPLETED

Knowledge Assessment (in post-site materials)

National Parks Introduction 
• Split students in groups of 2-3 and give each group a "National Park System Map and Guide"
• Have them reed "A Brief History of the National Parks"
• Hand out the "National Parks in America Activity" and have the groups brainstorm answers to the questions (some are fact and some are opinion, these are marked)
• Use the discussion points below to guide students through the materials

Discussion Points
• How many different designations are there for National Parks? (listed above the map)
o Why do you think we have all these different titles?
o What makes a park a National Seashore? National Scenic Trail? National Monument?
• What makes Saint Croix Island (Maine) different from all the other National Parks? (Hint: Name)
• How many U.S. territories contain National Parks?
• Using the scale bar, determine the length of the boarder shared between NC and VA.

On-Site Visit Activities: RANGER COMPLETED

Day 1

Preservation Conservationist versus Utilitarian Conservationist Viewpoints
Park Superintendent Activity
Begin Research on Assigned Viewpoints

Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4

Continue Research on Viewpoints
Ask a Ranger

Day 5

Debate: Preserve or Use?

Post-Site Visit Activities: TEACHER COMPLETED

Knowledge Assessment

America's Best Idea by Ken Burns - Introduction
• This introduction (50 minutes) to the 6 part (12 hour) film contains pieces from each of the parts
• You can skip past the opening dignitary comments to the film itself