DOINews: NPS-Natural Resource Stewardship and Science: National Park Service Collaborates with Nonprofit to Create Inspiring Program for Youth

Last edited 09/05/2019

Students hiking at Point Reyes with park staff.
Students hike with park staff at Point Reyes National Seashore. Photo by Global Explorers.

Through a cooperative agreement between the National Park Service Natural Sounds & Night Skies Division and partner nonprofit Global Explorers, 11 students from Fossil Ridge High School in Fort Collins, Colo., were able to travel to Point Reyes National Seashore over their spring break. These students were either classified as Gifted and Talented or are currently taking advanced placement science classes. Their five-day trip, focused on stewardship and sustainability, centered on scientific exploration of the park and career exposure through interaction with various rangers and local area scientists.

This hands-on science enrichment opportunity included a watershed hike, beach cleanup, elephant seal monitoring, a tide-pool study, and exploration of the Tule Elk reserve. Based on student reflections and evaluations of this trip, their overall experience in Point Reyes was life-changing. The majority of students noted that learning about soundscapes and noise pollution was one of the most illuminating aspects of their experience. Below are some quotes from reflective essays the students were asked to write after travel.

“Every aspect of the trip was life changing, especially meeting all of the park rangers and hearing about their jobs, seeing the elk up on the coast, and seeing all of the different sights and drawing them in my notebook.”

“I can still remember what the green algae found on the various rocks felt like, or what the elephant seals on the beach sounded like; it's things like this that I remember the most and if I were to get a job in this field I would surely go with one where I am constantly using multiple senses. ...”

“What surprised me most during this trip was how quickly the students who were with me on the trip began to truly care about Point Reyes as a whole. ... It was almost as if the effect of Point Reyes was magic.”

Through a partnership with Global Explorers, the National Park Service Natural Sounds & Night Skies Division is educating a diverse group of youth and educators nationwide in the stewardship and understanding of soundscapes and starry night skies. Through educational activities conducted in classrooms, over the Internet, and on expeditions around the world, they inspire an appreciation of natural and cultural resources, a connection to the natural world, and a commitment to environmental stewardship.

June 4, 2014

Related Links:

NPS Natural Sound and Night Skies Division

Global Explorers

This story by Cecilia White appears in the May 28, 2014, edition of InsideNPS.

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