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Contact: Hollie Lynch, 301-491-0149
THANKS TO UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX AND SUBARU OF AMERICA, NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION PROGRAM WILL ENGAGE TEACHERS AND YOUTH IN SERVICE-LEARNING PROJECTS IN AMERICA'S NATIONAL PARKS
Hagerstown, MD (July 28, 2014) – Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park is one of 28 national parks selected to receive a 2014 Park Stewards grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks. The Park Stewards Grant will support the development of a Citizens Scientists Program at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park developed in partnership with the Washington County Public Schools' Claud E. Kitchens Outdoor School at Fairview and a South Hagerstown high school science teacher.
Now in its sixth year, this program gives high school teachers and students the opportunity to explore the relevance of national parks to their lives, and enables them to become civically engaged stewards of their national parks through year-long service-learning projects.
"With our Park Stewards program, teachers and students are able to explore science, nature, sustainability, and more through America's largest living classrooms –our national parks," said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation.
The Citizen Scientists Program will feature a curriculum based education program involving water quality monitoring, macroinvertebrate stream analysis, and invasive plant identification as well as a service learning component that will allow students to continue data collection throughout the school year and develop a model for service learning that is replicable year after year. The program will support the Common Core Curriculum Standards, the Maryland Environmental Literacy Standards (included in the attachments section), and the Next Generation Science Standards.
"The C&O Canal is excited for new opportunities to engage high school students in their local national park," stated Park Superintendent Kevin Brandt. "The program encourages students to apply content knowledge and critical thinking skills in a real-world setting while instilling a sense of stewardship and conservation for their local national park."
University of Phoenix is now serving in its third year as the program's official educational sponsor. The University is committed to opening opportunities for education and workplace readiness, and supporting sustainable solutions for environmental health. Its support of the Park Stewards program helps both teachers and students build a deeper connection to and sense of stewardship for America's national parks, while offering students the chance to explore new career horizons.
"University of Phoenix is proud to once again support the National Park Foundation in helping build future generations of national park enthusiasts and supporters," said Pat Gottfried, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility for Apollo Education Group, parent company of University of Phoenix. "The University has long supported environmental stewardship in our operations, offered sustainability-related degree programs and engaged in environmental philanthropy across the nation. We welcome the opportunity to continue to reinforce this commitment through our support of the National Park Foundation and the teachers and students it impacts."
Since 2009, the Park Stewards program has made it possible for 110 high school teachers to work in parks over their summer break, creating engaging curriculum to teach to their students in the coming school year. During their time in the parks, the teachers and park staff also develop service-learning projects for students to take part in during the school year. The projects tie to state academic standards and make meaningful impacts in the national parks. Examples of projects include monitoring water quality, creating digital history apps, hosting a BioBlitz, and designing art sculptures.
In addition, two students from each grantee school team will be selected for summer internships that will help support and grow their interest in national parks and the National Park Service.
The National Park Foundation also wishes to thank Subaru of America for their generous support of the Park Stewards program.
A listing of the 2014 Park Stewards grantees and their project descriptions can be found on the National Park Foundation website.
For more information on the National Park Foundation and how to support and protect America's national parks, please visit www.nationalparks.org.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at: www.nps.gov.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America's national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.