Environmental Living Program
In this program, students stay at the Pioneer Yosemite History Center and assume the roles of historical figures from the 19th and early 20th centuries--people who influenced the development and protection of the area now known as Yosemite National Park.
During an overnight visit, participants in grades 4 and 5 confront the problems and decisions of the pioneers by performing tasks such as chopping wood, blacksmithing, cooking on a wood stove, and working with horses.
The main focus of the program is the history of land management in Yosemite. Through a simulated experience of a historic period in Yosemite, students will discover that land use issues of the past are similar to land use issues and park management conflicts today.
As a result of this discovery, students can choose to make a personal commitment to the protection of resources and national parks, as well as other community, state, or federal lands.
Season: Late-April through early-June.
Requirement: Teachers are required to attend a specific training workshop held the preceding autumn (adult helpers must also attend).
If you are a teacher interested in potentially participating in this program, we invite you to request copies of the additional handbooks that give a substantial amount of additional information about conducting the program. To request copies of the Curriculum Handbook, please contact Dean Shenk (Program Manager) or Sue Michael (Program Coordinator).
You can also download the application [100 kb PDF].
Did You Know?
The indigenous people of Yosemite Valley have used fire as a tool for thousands of years. Fire was used to encourage the growth of plants used for basket making and to promote the growth of the black oak--a sun loving species--and a staple food source for American Indians from this region.