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Contact: Marge Post, (928) 524-6228 ext. 264
Teacher-Ranger-Teacher Program at Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest, AZ ― Petrified Forest National Park tried out a new National Park Service program called the Teacher-Ranger-Teacher program this past summer with great success. Amber Struthers is a middle school teacher from central Phoenix that worked at the park to help improve the education program of the park. “Amber Struthers, our first Teacher-Ranger-Teacher at Petrified Forest National Park, was instrumental in the initial development of a series of four Traveling Trunks that should be available for teachers in 2008,” says Acting Superintendent Brad Traver.
The Teacher-Ranger-Teacher program was developed in the National Park Service to focus programs on the education community and engage teachers from under-served schools that are not currently being reached with park programs, paying particular attention to areas with large, ethnically diverse populations. Participating teacher-rangers bring the parks into their school system and draw on their summer experience as a park ranger to develop lesson plans that will be used during the school year.
Amber Struthers wrote the following for her students to tell them about her experience, “To my students, I’m Ms. Struthers, an 8th grade science teacher at Osborn Middle School in central Phoenix. During my 8 week summer experience, as Ranger Amber, I embarked on a unique experience with Petrified Forest National Park as the Teacher-Ranger-Teacher.”
“The Teacher-Ranger-Teacher program places educators, like myself, in various national parks and utilizes their educational background, as well as exposing them to life as a park ranger, living and working among the national park staff. I spent my time developing educational materials for the park as well as taking on the role of a park ranger.”
“As an experienced teacher, I utilized my skills in curriculum to create Traveling Trunks, a series of by-mail lessons boxes, which includes supplies, on topics addressed in Petrified Forest National Park, such as archaeology, biology, paleontology, and human history.”
“During my time as a park ranger, I greatly enjoyed guiding visitors through different park features, bringing my passion for the sciences to a new type of audience. I also participated in survey work with the paleontology and archaeology teams of the park, a truly educating experience in the Arizona summer sun! Some of my time also included assisting the park’s Education Technician, Marge Post, with educational groups and programs, including Youth Conservation Corps field trips and Dino Days at the Holbrook Library. I learned how the national parks address educating and informing the general visiting public, and gained additional appreciation for the natural and cultural resources protected by Petrified Forest National Park.”
For more information call (928) 524-6228 weekdays, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time; or write to the Superintendent, Petrified Forest National Park, P.O. Box 2217, Petrified Forest, AZ 86028; or e-mail the park.