Summer in the park a win-win

out trailinternsA handful of teachers, high school and college students recently completed a program designed to teach them about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park through six weeks of hands-on engagement.

Participants were paid to perform ranger duties, assisting rangers with education programs and resource management, including wildlife biology, fisheries science, botany, forest and stream ecology, geology, Cherokee history and culture and Appalachian history. 

“These programs are mutually beneficial,” said Park Education Specialist Karen Ballentine. “The students and teachers get an in-depth study of resource education techniques, scientific methods and field research to enhance their skills and talents, and, in turn, the park creates advocates through better understanding of and appreciation for the Smokies.”

High school students included Alex Treadway from Swain County; Aidan Galloway, Ben Ogletree and Chace Morgan from Jackson County; Joshua Jimison, Todd Allred, Allie Dinwiddie and Sydney Schulhofer from Haywood County; Orion Holmberg from Cherokee. Teachers included Rich Harvey from Swain County.

Grants from Friends of the Smokies, Alcoa and Youth Partnership Program made the program possible. 

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