Making Science Part of the Park Experience

Science and national parks go hand in hand. Parks benefit from scientific research on resources and how to protect them. Scientists benefit from parks that protect our natural and cultural heritage and make it available for research. And visitors benefit from opportunities to learn and engage with science in parks.

Science is especially prominent in parks with Research Learning Centers (RLCs). The RLCs help make science possible by supporting researchers who study parks. They also make that research accessible to visitors, and applicable to conservation. Thanks to RLCs, the park experience is about more than just enjoying amazing places. It’s also about the joys, adventures, curiosity, wonder, and discovery that are the heart of science.

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This video slideshow shows still images (no audio) of people engaged in science in national parks - from researchers and educators, to staff and visitors.

A person in waterproof gear looks into coastal waters with snowy mountains behind/
RLCS benefit: Scientists

Through permitting, housing, databases and collections, guidance on field work, and connections to science communicators.

A teacher demonstrates a principle of biology using a tree branch to two students
RLCs benefit: Educators

Through workshops, lesson plans, databases, online resources, and opportunities to collaborate with science education specialists.

Park visitors examine a shorebird ID card with a ranger
RLCs benefit: Visitors

Through citizen science projects, public programs, online content, and opportunities to talk with researchers in the park.

A woman in uniform holding a bottle and funnel smiles
RLCs benefit: Interns and Fellows

By connecting them with researchers and current scientific information about park resources.

Last updated: December 12, 2022