Saturday, April 10, 2021

Back to School in America’s National Parks



Submitted by Big Cypress National Preserve

Teachers across south Florida have a new tool to help them engage their students in classroom and place-based learning.

Today the National Park Service (NPS) launched a new online service for teachers that brings America’s national parks, including Big Cypress National Preserve, into neighborhood classrooms. The new “Teachers” section of the NPS website at provides a one-stop shop for curriculum-based lesson plans, traveling trunks, maps, activities, distance learning, and other resources. All of the materials draw from the spectacular natural landscapes and authentic places preserved in America’s national parks.

“The Preserve’s Swamp, Water and Me Program (S.W.A.M.P.) provides students in Collier County a hands-on opportunity to explore their backyard.” said Pedro Ramos superintendent of Big Cypress National Preserve. “Now, through the new “Teachers” resource page on the park services website, all 401 national park units inviting teachers and students from around the country to learn through a wide variety of resources.”

The new “Teachers” section of the National Park Service website includes learning about literature using a lesson plan from Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, borrowing a traveling trunk from Lava Beds National Monument, chatting online with a ranger at the Grand Canyon National Park, or visiting Mt. McKinley in Denali National Park. The site is searchable by location, keyword, and more than 125 subjects, from archaeology to

Students will learn about the many different animals such as panthers, alligators, snakes and birds that inhabit Big Cypress through S.W.A.M.P. PHOTO BY RALPH ARWOOD

Students will learn about the many different animals such as panthers, alligators, snakes and birds that inhabit Big Cypress through S.W.A.M.P. PHOTO BY RALPH ARWOOD

biology, to Constitutional law. Teachers will, for the first time, be able to rate NPS-provided content. In addition to park-created content, the site also features educational materials created by NPS national programs like the National Register of Historic Places and its award-winning Teaching with Historic Places series of 147 lesson plans.

The new “Teachers” section of the NPS website is just one part of the National Park Service’s ongoing commitment to education. Every year, national parks offer more than 57,000 educational programs that serve nearly 3 million students in addition to 563,000 interpretive programs attended by 12.6 million visitors.

At launch, the website offered more than 700 lesson plans, 140 field trips, 50 traveling trunks, 44 distance learning opportunities, 16 teachers’ institutes, 47 online galleries, and 100 teacher workshops, and will add new content as it is developed. The site offers teachers the opportunity to rate the materials provided.

The National Park Service is working with partners and educational institutions to expand programs and encourage the use of parks as places of learning. The agency has partnered with the Department of Education to integrate national park resources into core curriculum. Each summer, teachers across the country are hired to work in parks to develop curriculum-based programs based on park resources through the Teacher-Ranger-Teacher program.

To learn more about the National Park Service’s education program, visit

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