Teacher Ranger Teacher

A woman and three kids hold pencils with plastic cups attached by straws next to a body of water.
A Teacher Ranger Teacher leads a science activity.

The Teacher Ranger Teacher (TRT) program is an extended professional development opportunity for educators from K-12 schools to learn about the resources and educational materials available through the National Park Service. The emphasis of this program is to link NPS sites and teachers from schools with underserved student populations in urban and rural school districts. The program offers teachers a unique opportunity to infuse their teaching skills with NPS-based Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education resources and the use of primary sources and place-based learning.

Program Goals

The emphasis of this program is to link NPS sites and teachers from schools with underserved student populations in urban and rural school districts. Program goals include:

  • Provide teachers with place-based learning experiences.
  • Provide access to the rich resources of the national parks for inclusion into classrooms curricula.
  • Provide teachers with new knowledge and skills related to the resources and themes interpreted by the National Park Service.
  • Increase outreach to underserved students in rural and urban areas focusing on Title I and tribal schools.

The Teacher Ranger Teacher Experience

Activities and Benefits

  • Engage with National Park Service sites and resources
  • Participate in a webinar about lesson planning
  • Develop at least one lesson to be used in their classroom or school
  • Assist the park with an education project
  • Increase their understanding of place-based learning

Teacher Ranger Teachers (TRTs) spend 9 weeks in the summer season learning and completing a project at a national park site. The vast majority of teachers who participate in the program are recruited by NPS units that are located within commuting distance of their home or school. Funding for the program does not cover housing or long-distance travel. Most parks are not able to offer housing to teachers in the program.

TRTs perform tasks that vary with their interests and the needs of the park. TRTs spend most of their time engaging with park education projects, learning about park operations and resources with park staff, and developing lesson plans to use in their classrooms and in the park with students. Their experience will also include exposure to a variety of work performed in national park units by employees from many career fields in the service.

When TRTs return to the schools in the fall, they spend part of their classroom time presenting their TRT projects to their own students and to a wider education audience. Although not a requirement of the TRT program, we hope that TRTs will engage their students in subsequent school years in NPS education programming, including an onsite field trip.

How to Apply

2024 Teacher Ranger Teacher Season: June 10 – August 2

Teachers interested in the TRT program are encouraged to reach out to any NPS site within commuting distance of their home or school. Park housing is not usually available, and the program does not fund long-distance travel.

Locations and Contacts for 2024 TRT Host Sites

There is no single application for the TRT program; each NPS site recruits for its own TRT(s).

Professional Development and Graduate Credit Hours

The University of Colorado Denver (UC Denver) administers the continuing education component of the program. Students interns of the UC Denver; they are not employees of the National Park Service nor UC Denver. Teachers who successfully complete both the online graduate course and the NPS program requirements will receive a stipend that can help cover living expenses and local travel costs to participate in the program. At the completion of the program, TRTs receive professional development hours and graduate credit hours from the University of Colorado, Denver.

Program Elements (240 hours)

NPS Site Operations Experience - 35 hours

Through training and shadowing, TRTs are exposed to a variety of functions and operations at the national park unit to which they are assigned.

Online Graduate Coursework (3 credits) - 45 hours

This online course in experiential learning is provided by the University of Colorado Denver. Learn more about the online graduate course.

Major Education Project with NPS Site - 160 hours

The specifics of each project is informed by the teacher's interest and needs of the park. Projects could include developing and presenting interpretive programs for school field trips or summer camps, creating new content for the NPS Educators website, developing curriculum-based materials for the park, or other special education related projects.


Contact information for each TRT host site is available in the 2024 TRT sites list.

For questions about the overall Teacher Ranger Teacher program, please email e-mail us.

Last updated: April 8, 2024

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