The Center for Public Engagement with Science leads the Schools in Parks Teacher Collaboratives, a year-long professional development program to foster increased confidence and sense of efficacy among 4th and 5th grade teachers in using outdoor science learning approaches in state parks to support their curriculum objectives. Schools in Parks is a state-wide initiative of North Carolina State Parks to ensure that every public school student in the state has a meaningful learning experience in a state park by the time of graduation.

During the Teacher Collaboratives, participants take part in a summer institute where hands-on, inquiry-based activities aligned with state standards and integrated with multiple content areas are modeled for use on field trips. Collaboratives also provide teachers with resources for using the schoolyard as an outdoor classroom, access to a peer network for outdoor learning, continuing education credits, stipends and support in planning a state park field trip during the school year.

Curriculum | Outdoor Teaching Resources | Useful Links | Wildlife Profiles | Program Contacts

Curriculum & Lesson Plans

Resources for Teaching Outdoors

Useful Links

Wildlife Profiles

Program Contacts

North Carolina State Parks, Interpretation & Education (I&E)

Sean Higgins, I&E Manager
sean.higgins@ncparks.gov | 919-805-2194

Randy Bechtel, I&E Specialist
randy.bechtel@ncparks.gov | 919-707-9325

Ben Herman, Outdoor Recreation Coordinator (Big Canoes)
ben.herman@ncparks.gov | 919-602-0937

Iris Diaz, Education and Spanish Language Assistant
iris.diaz@ncparks.gov

Anjanee Bell, Arts, Parks & Playtime Initiative
anjanee.bell@ncparks.gov | 919-807-6523

Kerr Lake State Recreation Area

kerr.lake@ncparks.gov | 252-438-7791

Bryce Fleming, Park Superintendent
bryce.fleming@ncparks.gov

Kyle Whitson, Park Ranger
Kyle.Whitson@ncparks.gov

Charles Shelton, Park Ranger
charles.shelton@ncparks.gov

Lake James State Park

lake.james@ncparks.gov | 828-584-7728

Nora Coffey, Park Superintendent
nora.coffey@ncparks.gov

Wade Engels, Park Ranger
wade.engels@ncparks.gov

Medoc Mountain State Park

medoc.mountain@ncparks.gov | 252-586-6588

Joel Jakubowski, Park Superintendent
joel.jakubowski@ncparks.gov

Dr. Roy Austin, Park Ranger
roy.austin@ncparks.gov

South Mountains State Park

south.mountains@ncparks.gov | 828-433-4772

Jonathan Griffith, Park Superintendent
jonathan.griffith@ncparks.gov

Amanda Lasley, Park Ranger
amanda.lasley@ncparks.gov

Mary Griffin, Park Ranger
mary.griffin@ncparks.gov

Friends of State Parks

David Pearson, Executive Director
davidp@ncfsp.org | 910-389-0210

UNC Institute for the Environment, Center for Public Engagement with Science

Sarah Yelton, Environmental Education & Citizen Science Program Manager
sarah.yelton@unc.edu | 919-966-0895

Megan Hughes, STEM Diversity Program Manager & Environmental Health Educator
meganhughes@unc.edu | 919-966-2463

Lauren Greene, Elementary Environmental Education Consultant
lvgreene@email.unc.edu | 919-843-7561