Glacier National Park Welcomes 2010 Teacher-Ranger-Teacher
Contact: Amy Vanderbilt, 406 888-5838
Contact: Wade Muehlhof, 406 888-7895
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Steve Bless joins the Glacier National Park staff for the 2010 summer as part of the Teacher-to-Ranger-to-Teacher (TRT) program. Mr. Bless works as a Library and Technology teacher at Roadrunner Elementary School in Marana, Arizona, near Tucson. He credits his connection to Saguaro National Park as his motivation to work at Glacier this summer.
The TRT Program links National Park units with teachers from Title I urban and rural school districts. Selected teachers spend the summer working as park rangers, often living in the park. They perform various duties depending on their interests and the needs of the park, including developing and presenting interpretive programs for the general public, staffing the visitor center desk, developing curriculum-based materials for the park, or taking on special projects.
During the following school year, these teacher-rangers bring the parks into the classroom by developing and presenting curriculum-based lesson plans that draw on their summer’s experiences. In April, during National Park Week, teacher-rangers wear their NPS uniforms to school, discuss their summer as a park ranger, and engage students and other teachers in activities that relate to America’s National Parks.
Mr. Bless is working through early August, giving a variety of interpretive programs in the Lake McDonald Valley, working in the Apgar Visitor Center and developing interactive whiteboard lessons for local schools to use in preparation for their park visits. He says his favorite part of the job is helping visitors make the most of their visit to Glacier. He enjoys seeing the intense interest and excitement shown by children during talks and walks. Mr. Bless says that he is very excited to share the interactive lessons he has developed with students back at Arizona schools so they and their parents might be future visitors to the amazing features, habitats and animals that are found throughout Glacier National Park.
The TRT Program is made possible through an Inter-governmental Personnel Act Agreement (IPA) between the public school district and the National Park Service. The Teacher-to-Ranger-to-Teacher Program began in 2003 and in 2007 became a national program. During the summer of 2009, parks had more than 85 teacher-rangers in uniform learning about their national heritage and serving National Park Service visitors. For more information on the program, please visit http://www.nps.gov/learn/trt/.
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