Outdoors Briefs

National grant will fund outdoor field trips in the Smokies

A National Park Foundation grant will fund outdoor field trips for kids in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

The Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont and Friends of the Smokies received the NPF Open OutDoors for Kids Hybrid Learning grant to support the program, called “Schoolyard Exploration, Smokies Style.”

The park is developing ranger-led, interactive K-12 field trips that highlight Smokies resources. Tremont’s Schoolyard Adventures guide teachers in how to use their schoolyard with up to three days of outdoor activities. Jointly, the park and partners will host a series of virtual educator workshops and a community of practice designed for collaboration and sharing.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of 32 national parks out of more than 400 receiving an NFP grant through their partners for the Open Outdoors for Kids Hybrid program. 

Recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted how and where students are learning, NPF collaborated with the NPS to find a way to meet the needs of students, teachers, schools and communities during these uncertain times and discuss how lessons learned can be applied in the long-term. The result was the Open OutDoors for Kids Hybrid Learning program. Hybrid design and a holistic approach to distance learning, which includes non-internet and internet-based elements, are among the most critical aspects of the program. 

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