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The Center for Public Engagement with Science leads the Schools in Parks Collaboratives, a year-long professional development program to foster increased confidence and sense of efficacy among 3rd, 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 Collaboratives, classroom teachers and park rangers take part in a series of workshops where hands-on, inquiry-based activities aligned with state standards and integrated with multiple content areas are modeled for use on field trips. Teacher and rangers partner to develop lessons that can be used to support student learning in state parks over the course of the school year. Collaboratives also provide educators 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 | State Parks Resources | Program Contacts

Curriculum & Lesson Plans

Schools in Parks Program Outlines

Schools in Parks Warm-ups & Icebreakers

Scavenger Hunts/Bingo

NC State Parks Field Trip Resources

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

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

Mary MeyerElementary Environmental Education Consultant

Sarah Yelton, Environmental Education & Citizen Science Program Manager