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National Park Service Launches New Education Portal

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Date: September 12, 2013
Contact: Maureen Finnerty, 760-924-5505

Teachers in Mammoth Lakes and the Eastern Sierra 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 Devils Postpile, 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.

"Devils Postpile has long welcomed Mammoth area students to the park for field trips," said Deanna Dulen, superintendent of Devils Postpile. "And now, through the new "Teachers" National Park Service website, all 401National Parks are throwing open the doors and inviting teachers and students to learn about the National Parks. At Devils Postpile, we're excited to launch a suite of materials for teachers to meet a wide range of educational needs. These will primarily focus on climate change in the Sierra; however, there are lots of regional and national connections as well."

Currently, Devils Postpile offers two education curriculum units, accompanying travelling trunks, and distance learning opportunities. Both curriculum units focus on different educational components of climate change and climate science. They are geared towards 5th and 9th graders, although would be easily adapted to other grade levels.

The NPS 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 in parks for nearly three million students, in addition to the 563,000 interpretive programs attended by 12.6 million visitors.At launch, the website offered more than 700 lesson plans, 140 field trips, 50 traveling trunks, 44 distance learning opportunities, 16 teachers' institutes, 47 online galleries, and 100 teacher workshops, and will add new content as it is developed. The site offers teachers the opportunity to rate the materials provided.

The National Park Service is also working with partners and educational institutions to expand programs and encourage the use of parks as places of learning. The agency has partnered with the Department of Education to integrate National Park resources into core curriculums and, each summer, dozens of teachers participate in professional development opportunities in parks, creating education materials based on park resources through the Teacher-Ranger-Teacher program. The Teacher-Ranger-Teacher program was instrumental in developing the new curriculum at Devils Postpile.

To learn more about the National Park Service's education programs, visit www.nps.gov/teachers. To see Devils Postpile's new offerings, visit http://www.nps.gov/depo/forteachers/index.htm.

Did You Know?

Dogs are allowed on all trails in the monument.

Devils Postpile is a pet friendly park. Pets are allowed on all trails as long as they are on a leash. Leashed pets can even ride the shuttle bus!