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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

Schools in Parks Program Outlines

Schools in Parks Warm-ups & Icebreakers

Scavenger Hunts/Bingo

Other Lesson Plans & Activities

Resources for Teaching Outdoors

Useful Links

Wildlife Profiles

Program Contacts

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

Sean Higgins, I&E Manager | 919-805-2194

Randy Bechtel, I&E Specialist | 919-707-9325

Ben Herman, Outdoor Recreation Coordinator (Big Canoes) | 919-602-0937

Friends of State Parks

David Pearson, Executive Director | 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

Shelby Brown, Environmental Education Research Assistant

2019-2020 Teacher Collaborative State Park Contacts

Kerr Lake State Recreation Area | 252-438-7791

Bryce Fleming, Park Superintendent

Kyle Whitson, Park Ranger

Charles Shelton, Park Ranger

Medoc Mountain State Park | 252-586-6588

Kelley King, Park Superintendent

Jason Penshorn, Park Ranger

Lake James State Park | 828-584-7728

Nora Coffey, Park Superintendent

Wade Engels, Park Ranger

South Mountains State Park | 828-433-4772

Jonathan Griffith, Park Superintendent

Amanda Lasley, Park Ranger

Mary Griffin, Park Ranger