Shenandoah National Park is an amazing outdoor classroom and playground. In addition to the gorgeous views and the opportunities for children to experience the outdoors, the Park offers learning opportunities in history, geology, habitats, ecosystems, and environmental change. Time in the Shenandoah National Park is transformative, and we’re committed to capturing the hearts and minds of today’s youth and connecting them to the outdoors. If we fail to build strong connections between children and their outdoor surroundings, we have lost out on a generation of outdoor enthusiasts and stewards of our natural world.
The Shenandoah National Park Trust gave over $160,000 to the Shenandoah National Park last year towards the Education Program operations. That funding helps provide recreational, educational, and service learning experiences in the Shenandoah National Park. The main goal is to provide meaningful Park experiences for all audiences that instill a love and appreciation for Shenandoah National Park and reach underserved audiences that would not otherwise have the means to visit national parks.
Until Park staff can welcome school groups back more fully in Shenandoah National Park, they have focused their efforts on creating and hosting distance learning field trips. While nothing can replace feeling the mountain breeze on your face or seeing squirrels darting across the trail in front of you, these distance learning experiences have reached students as far as California, Connecticut, and New Mexico, as well as over 85 schools across Virginia. As always, your support continues to bring Shenandoah National Park to children.
The following feedback from teachers conveys the success and excitement surrounding these Shenandoah National Park programs.
Virtual field trips cover SOL objectives: “…You covered all the science standards for Habitat unit. Everyone was impressed and I will recommend your program to all Prince William County schools. Thank you for all your help and support!” -PWC 2nd grade
Teaching students that the Park is meant to be wild: “…The Ranger really shared a passion for the parks…This program did a wonderful job at engaging students and teaching them about a nearby park. One of my favorite takeaways was that the students really learned that the park is meant to be wild. They are so used to having pets/zoos, it was important to show them that the ecosystem runs by itself!” 4th-grade teacher
Speaking with the Experts: “[The ranger] was extremely knowledgeable and did a great job reviewing what we’ve taught about geology so far and also teaching the kids lots of new things… Virtual learning can get monotonous, and we really appreciated the change of pace and opportunity to talk to an expert about something we’re studying.”
Engaging older students: “The Rangers did an outstanding job of linking global environmental issues to our locality which both directly and indirectly effects our students. The information was concise yet detailed enough to provide an effective “case study”…. Shenandoah NP is such a vital part of our community here in Greene County, and I look forward to helping many more students become interested and involved in the Park’s future.” Greene County High School Teacher
While the majority of programming this fall will be virtual, there were a few field trips to the Park this summer, and a Fauquier Boys and Girls Club member said it best, “Dear Shenandoah National Park, Thanks for letting us come and visit! You make summer camp great!”. Virtual or in person, the Shenandoah National Park Trust is proud to support these educational programs that offer irreplaceable experiences for students and adults alike.
Learn more about the Shenandoah National Park Educational Programs Here