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Contact: Daniel Banks, (423) 569-9778
Contact: Christopher Derman
On July 18, Brenda Cate concluded her Teacher-Ranger-Teacher (TRT) experience at Obed WSR. A Special Education Teacher at Midtown Elementary School, in Harriman, Tennessee, Brenda worked as Obed’s 2016 TRT, where her main focus was to help find ways to offer inclusive programs for persons of different abilities. She created a new on-site program, which highlights the plant and animal diversity of the park, and will allow park staff to meet the needs of more students.
The TRT program is a professional development opportunity for K-12 teachers to spend the summer acquiring new skills in experiential learning through a program provided by a partnership between the National Park Service and the University of Colorado at Denver (CUD). The participants spend between four and six weeks in a NPS unit developing a major educational project and participating in an online graduate course from CUD. The goal of the program is to train teachers in the resources and themes of the NPS so that they can return to their schools in the fall and incorporate their new skills into their classroom activities.
As to why Brenda applied, she said: “I saw the advertisement in the newspaper for TRT program and thought it would be a great opportunity!” She continued: “I love going to national and state parks, I had grown up at Nemo and Obed, and a stipend and college course credits were to be awarded.”
When asked about her expectation of the programs, she said: “What I expected from the application through the first week of training could not compare to what actually occurred for my experience! It was more than I planned on! I learned so much about our National Park Service, and Obed WSR, and used my education and experience with children who have different abilities to develop a program to assist the park rangers with including more students in this great park! I plan to share my experiences as TRT with my students, co-workers, family and friends!”
For more information about the Teacher-Ranger-Teacher program at Obed Wild and Scenic River, go to: https://www.nps.gov/obed/learn/education/teacher-to-ranger-to-teacher.htm.