Valentine’s Day and President’s Day weekends are fast approaching; spring is almost here! I can't wait to get outdoors with my friends. Remember that admission to all national parks is free during President’s Day Weekend, February 15-17, so take your Valentine to a national park. And don’t forget to enter our Kids to Parks National School Contest for a chance to win a park trip. The deadline is February 28.
“Explore outdoors, the parks are yours!”
Taking a break on the Billy Goat Trail at C&O Canal National Historical Park
Logging the Miles
My middle-school friends in the Explorer's Club at St. Ignatius Loyola Academy, Baltimore, MD tracked a lot of miles this fall. We visited Patapsco Valley State Park where we fished at Lost Lake and hiked to Cascade Falls. Then we conquered the Annapolis Rock section of the Appalachian Trail. They even took me to one of my favorite places; the Billy Goat Trail at the C&O Canal National Historical Park is amazing! We participated in the ‘Meet the Mule’ program, explored the Visitor Center, and hiked about 4 hours on the trail.
"Since joining the Explorer's Club, I love going outdoors just to hike or run," said 7th grader Jemyri.
"My favorite part of the day was when we went fishing. I had never been fishing before," said 7th grader Dominic.
Want to create an Explorer’s Club in your school? Contact Billy Schrack (firstname.lastname@example.org) to learn how to get started.
Science, Science Everywhere
I love when National Park Service (NPS) Rangers visit our Buddy Bison schools. They always are happy and excited to teach our students about the great outdoors. Ranger Rebecca from the C&O Canal National Historical Park visited St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Potomac, MD where she participated in their lower-school science fair. She taught the entire lower school about the animals and historical features of the park.
Many national parks are able to provide rangers to visit your school. During these snowy winter days, if you can’t make it to the park, maybe they can come to you. Check out this and other distance learning opportunities NPS offers at www.nps.gov/teachers.
Free Play in Indiana Dunes Nature Play Zone
Stop the presses! Jose de Diego Community Academy students (Chicago, IL) are featured on the cover of National Park Service's Park Science magazine at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore! The article features their visit last spring to the lakeshore's brand new Nature Play Zone and highlights the importance of natural settings as playgrounds for unstructured fun (click here to read the full article). The 5th-grade students climbed trees and scampered through the sand and woodlands.
Ranger Kip Walton visited their school last month to get them jazzed about their upcoming visit in May. They discussed how the park's diverse ecosystems look in the winter and will make comparisons this spring.
A special thanks to Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP for once again sponsoring Jose de Diego Community Academy as a Buddy Bison school this year!
Don't Delay, There's Still Time to Enter our School Contest!
There are less than 3 weeks left to enter the Kids to Parks National School Contest! Your class could win up to $1,000 to fund a park trip. This national contest is open to all schools in the United States (grades pre-K through 12). Click here to download the entry form and get started. All entries must be emailed or post-marked by February 28. Good Luck!
Want to be Healthy? Play in a Park!
Do you know that playing in a park is great way to improve your health? I just got back from exploring some of my favorite parks and it was quite a workout. The National Park Service (NPS) has worked with healthcare providers on a program called Healthy Parks Healthy People which connects kids to local parks for fun outdoor activities including hiking, biking and playing sports.
Listen to an important message from Junior Rangers by watching this NPS video. Healthy kids are happy kids. Now get out and go!
Don't forget to save the date; Kids to Parks Day is May 17th. Register here and be counted; you may be selected to win a free cool prize!