Students will investigate local treasures that are not protected. They will investigate how to help protect them and develop a management proposal.  This lesson specifically relates to areas related to the old Natchez Trace, however, the methods could be applied to any local landmark.


Enduring Understanding: There are natural and historic treasures that need to be preserved.

Essential Question: Why should the Natchez Trace Parkway be protected?

The students will learn about the importance of local heritage and their role in protecting that heritage.


Conservation planning in the National Park Service involves planning for resource protection, facilitating public input on NPS decisions, conducting environmental assessments and guiding policy on environmental compliance.

Specifically our functions include:

  • Formulation of policy recommendations and establishment of procedures, methods, and standards for all aspects of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA).
  • Technical assistance and training for regional offices and National Park System Units regarding environmental compliance activities and federal laws.
  • Coordination of environmental compliance activities with other federal agencies whose actions affect park resources.
  • Technical assistance on environmental assessments and impact statements.
  • Project management for nationally significant environmental analysis efforts.
  • Coordination of NPS wide responsibilities using environmental analysis as a decision tool.
  • Facilitation of dispute resolution within the NPS and with other agencies. (from http://www.nature.nps.gov/protectingrestoring/conservationplanning/)


1.) Varies with student involvement. Download the worksheet for guidance on planning


Student Task:

Virtual: Through research of historic documents, and/or natural resource records, students will locate a local property that they feel is of natural or historical significance. They should develop a plan that indicates why this is an important property and how that property should be preserved and protected. They will develop a management plan for that property and present it to the class. 

Option - Real: The students could present their plan to the property owner. If the owner is receptive, the students could work with the owner in researching conservation and preservation of the property.

Student Instruction:

1.) Students should locate a local property or item that they feel has historical or natural significance. The property could range from a single item to a large area of land. The students should write a justification as to why they feel this property is important. A plan should be developed using the following guidelines. They should research through the local library, newspapers, community leaders and elders. museums, or natural resource agencies. 

• Type of designation (National, State or local)

a. Scenic

b. Historic

c. Recreational

• Justification

a. What part did this property play in local history

i. natural or nature areas OR

ii. cultural property

b. Why is this property important for people to remember?

i. Does this property hold some "meaning"?

 ii. How would they convince others it is important?

c. What does this property need in order to be preserved?

i. Renovation - what needs to be done to keep make it "healthy"?

ii. Regulation - how do you keep it from being destroyed?

iii. Perpetuation - how will this property be maintained in the future?

• Who would use the finished site?

• How would the site be used?

• Who would take care of the site in the future?

• What changes in the environment or structure need to be made to preserve the site?

• Potential problems in preserving this site.

• A map showing the location of the site.

• Who would need to be contacted for permission to purchase, renovate, or designate this site?

• Would a fee be charged for the site? Why or why not? How much?

• Option: How much would it cost to complete this project?

• Option: drawing or graphic of current site and completed idea.

Teacher Closure: Have students make oral presentations of their reports.


Completeness of report.

Park Connections

This lesson teaches students the importance of preservation and conservation and how and why the Natchez Trace Parkway is preserved by the National Park Service.


1.) When studying properties that are persevered and protected or that are not but need to be, point this out to students.Engage students in a debate considering the pros and cons of protecting this area. 

2.) If the students discover a local property owner who is interested in preserving their historic property, students could research how to help the property owner care for their property.

3.) Visit the Natchez Trace Parkway and have the students research how it is preserved and protected.

4) Research how Climate Change is affecting the future of natural and historic resources. 

Additional Resources

 National Park Service Science

The Nature Conservancy

National Trust for Historic Preservation

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation

Youth and Historic Preservation


Conservation, preservation, paradigm shift