Alternative Spring Break Brings Enthusiastic Students to Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Cohesive Strategy—Maintain and Restore Resilient Landscapes*

Going Wild on Spring Break

Alternative Spring Break students from Moravian College (PA)
Participants from Moravian College (PA)

Todd Nelson

While many college students lounged on beaches for spring break, 82 students from eight colleges and universities spent their time supporting Grand Canyon National Park’s wildland fire crew as part of an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program.

These students, who hailed from Longwood University; Moravian College; University of Virginia; Northern Arizona University; Georgia College and University; Chapman University; University of California, Los Angeles; and Williams College, dragged downed trees and debris and helped prepare archaeological sites for future prescribed burns, pressure tested and rolled about two miles of fire hose, and started a new project to monitor pile burning and mechanical thinning.

Beyond the hard work of dragging downed debris, the groups toured the park’s museum collections and participated in education sessions each day to learn more about wildland fire, the National Park Service, and to see the bigger picture of their service. They also met with Grand Canyon National Park’s deputy superintendent. These opportunities provided interested students the inspiration and tools to start a career with the National Park Service.

Participation Summary

Participants from Northern Arizona University (AZ) and Georgia College & University (GA)
Participants from Northern Arizona University (AZ) and Georgia College & University (GA)

Todd Nelson

Longwood University (VA) - 13 participants for 364 hours, first time to Grand Canyon National Park (GRCA) for an alternative break

Moravian College (PA) - 12 participants for 261 hours, third time to GRCA for an alternative break

University of Virginia (VA) - 10 participants for 231 hours, seventh time to GRCA for an alternative break.  For the 2014 alternative break there was 100 applicants for 8 slots.

University of Northern Arizona (AZ) - 9 participants for 94 hours first time to GRCA

Georgia College & University (GA) - 2 participants for 41 hours, second time to GRCA

Chapman University (CA) - 14 participants 336 hours, third time to GRCA

UCLA (CA) - 12 participants for 288 hours, first time to GRCA

Learn More

For student leaders interested in furthering the idea of ASB, Grand Canyon National Park will host the 5th Alternative Break Citizenship School July 25-31, 2015. This conference promotes active citizenship, provides participants with an alternative break experience, and produces innovative training and networking opportunities. As a former participant said of his experience, "You have inspired a group of motivated students to value our national lands and spread this passion to other young minds.” Additional feedback from participants is captured in the 2013 Alternative Break Citizenship School Video

Contact: Todd Nelson, Grand Canyon National Park’s Volunteer Resource Program Coordinator


Phone: (928) 638-7307

Last updated: December 15, 2017