Yellowstone National Park is more than just a place. It is an idea; an idea about preservation, about families and about tomorrow. The National Park Service is entrusted with our nation’s most special places. As park rangers, we must provide for the benefit and enjoyment of these wonderlands. Yet leave them unimpaired for future generations.
Back in 1985, park managers realized that tomorrow’s decision makers are here today. That’s when Expedition: Yellowstone! was born. It is a curriculum based, residential program for students in grades 4 through 8. The lesson plans in the curriculum meet the education standards in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.
Groups of up to 40 students, teachers, and chaperones live in Yellowstone for four or five days. Sessions are led by park rangers that specialize in education. In the fall and spring, classes stay at the historic Lamar Buffalo Ranch in beautiful Lamar Valley. A lottery system is used for these sessions. Winter classes stay at the Youth Conservation Corps facility in Mammoth Hot Springs and are on a first-come, first-served basis. All classes provide their own food and transportation.
The curriculum is made up of 69 different lessons organized into 4 units that are tailored to meet an individual group’s needs. Along with pre-visit, post-visit and in-park activities, the units include Yellowstone’s Legacy, which teaches about the history of preservation as well as ways we protect our natural and cultural resources today. Voices from the Past, the second unit, explores the history of humans in Yellowstone. Units three and four cover geology and ecology respectively.
While in Yellowstone, students explore geyser basins, discover archeological sites, identify animal tracks or learn about legends around a camp fire. Expedition: Yellowstone! is hands on learning. Students take the values and the knowledge they learn here home and apply them in their own communities. After one student was asked how his trip went, he smiled and told his parents, “There are no words to describe the experience.”
Expedition: Yellowstone! is a cost-recovery program. Fees cover salaries and supplies. There are scholarships available for qualifying students.
Here in Yellowstone, we realize that children are the future of the park. So if you are a teacher, a home school group or if you are just interested in more information on Expedition: Yellowstone! visit the teacher link on our website. Yellowstone is a special classroom. Expedition: Yellowstone! is a special program.