‘Class of 2016’ Initiative Launched

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Date: December 7, 2012
Contact: Public Affairs Office, 307.739.3431

To highlight the National Park Service's upcoming centennial in 2016, Grand Teton National Park will launch a multi-year initiative focused on local 'Class of 2016' students. In partnership with the Grand Teton Association (GTA) and Jackson Hole High School, park staff will provide hands-on lessons and experiences for students throughout their high school years. Through this outreach program, Grand Teton hopes to create opportunities for students to find meaningful experiences in their nearby national park and gain a better understanding of its significance. 

A kick-off event for the Class of 2016 initiative--scheduled for Wednesday, December 12--will introduce a group of freshman students to park scientists, interpreters and climbing rangers. During this initial event, students will hike with a ranger and discuss the ecology of the park, explore the Craig Thomas Discovery Center's exhibits and discover how this area became a national park. 

Over the next four years park staff will work with students in this multi-faceted program to provide similar experiences to upcoming high school classes. Members from the Class of 2016 initiative will serve as mentors to their under-class peers.  

In partnership with the GTA, the park will host a Class of 2016 essay and creative arts scholarship competition. Through "From Past to Present: Stewardship for the Future," students will respond to park-related prompts through essays, art, poetry, song or photography. GTA will fund the scholarship as well as transportation, materials and other supplies for programs and events. 

The Class of 2016 initiative is one of many action items laid out in 'A Call to Action' by National Park Service (NPS) Director Jon Jarvis. A Call to Action charts a path toward a second-century vision for the NPS by asking park employees and partners to commit to concrete actions that advance the mission of the NPS. In conjunction with many other action items, A Call to Action directs all parks to help students develop a deep understanding of park resources and the relevance of parks in their lives through a series of park education programs.  

Grand Teton Association (GTA) is a nonprofit corporation established in 1937 to support Grand Teton National Park. The Association fosters understanding of the park's mission and increases visitor enjoyment and appreciation by publishing and distributing informational and historical reference materials, guidebooks, and a variety of other educational publications. GTA operates interpretive sales areas in all park visitor centers, the Menors Ferry historic district, Jackson Hole Airport, Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center, National Elk Refuge and nineteen district ranger stations on two national forests. All earned profits support educational, interpretive, and scientific programs in Grand Teton and across the Greater Yellowstone Area. For more information, visit www.grandtetonpark.org.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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