OUTREACH EDUCATION PROGRAMS
National Park Service Mission:
...to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Curecanti National Recreation Area Outreach Education Programs are committed to creating an awareness of and fostering an appreciation for the mission of the National Park Service and the natural, cultural, and historic resources of the two parks.
Programs are provided for over 10,000 preschool, K-12, college/university students, and lifelong learners in eleven communities and six school districts.
All of the K-12 outreach education units are linked to Colorado Content Standards, the National Science Teachers Association standards, and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics standards, using primary National Park Service themes.
The parks' natural resources are appropriately used in experiential learning challenges. These education units are developed using the UCLA-Madeline Hunter method for unit design. Assessment models have been implemented for all educational units.
The parks' outreach education staff are participating members in GREEN (Gunnison Resource and Environmental Education Network) and the UCEA (Uncompahgre Conservation Education Alliance). The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Curecanti National Recreation Area Outreach Education Program has received the Garrison Gold Award for regional excellence and the National Freeman Tilden Award for the Journeys to Wilderness Canyons distance learning project.
Field trips may begin any time after 9:00 a.m., depending on driving distance and school schedules, and should be concluded in time for a safe return to your school. School site programs may begin any time after 9:00 a.m. for Gunnison schools and 10:00 a.m. for all other school districts. All field trip and school site program times will be clearly stated in the confirmation materials you will receive. Telephone or e-mail confirmations will be made prior to your scheduled program
Field experiences include indoor and outdoor components. The field experience will begin either at the Elk Creek Visitor Center (Curecanti National Recreation Area, located 15 miles west of Gunnison or 50 miles east of Montrose on Highway 50) or at the South Rim Visitor Center (Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park located 6 miles east of Montrose/54 miles west of Gunnison on Highway 50, to Highway 347 then 6 miles north to the Visitor Center). After a brief orientation, students will travel to an outdoor learning site in the park.
Outdoor learning sites include East Elk Creek, the Neversink and Dillon Pinnacles Trails and overlooks on the rim of the Black Canyon. Inclement weather alternatives are arranged when possible. School site programs are held in your classroom and on the school grounds. When possible, in-class programs include indoor and outdoor components.
Pre- and Post-Visit Activities
To prepare students, a pre-visit activity including vocabulary, concepts, and self-directed study material is provided. A post-visit activity, summarizing the unit, will be left with the classroom teacher. We will also provide a self-addressed, stamped evaluation form to be completed so that we may accurately assess our programs and personnel.
Programs are available Tuesday through Friday excluding federal holidays. Program dates can be reserved by telephone, fax or mail. Our schedule is determined on a first-come, first-served basis according to school location, unit selection and ranger availability. For more specific information please call us at (970) 641-2337 ext. 203.
Internship opportunities are sometimes available. National Park Service education interns work as part of a team providing curriculum-based programs in schools and in the parks. To learn more, contact the Education Specialist at (970) 641-2337 ext. 203.