New Smokies science program to target schools

A new science education program will soon launch in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park thanks to a $1 million Veverka Family Foundation donation to the National Parks Foundation.

Citizen Science 2.0 in National Parks will be a three-year partnership between the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, the park, and local middle and high schools, providing citizen science engagement for students and delivering professional development for teachers. The teacher education program will consist of a series of residential workshops at Tremont and consults at local schools, giving teachers practice with experiential learning and linking what they have learned with standards-based subject matter.

“These science-based opportunities cultivate lasting connections between the public and their parks by establishing a fascination and love of science,” said Smokies Superintendent Cassius Cash. “We are thrilled to work with the National Park Foundation and the Veverka Family Foundation to implement this citizen-science based education project.”

Cabrillo National Monument, Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Rock Creek Park will also launch the program this year. The National Park Service and National Park Foundation will continue to identify additional parks, schools and education partners to participate nationwide.

The National Park Foundation’s Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks, through which the program is funded, has raised more than $420 million thus far to strengthen and enhance the future of the National Parks over the next 100 years.

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