Edmonson Voice Staff Report:
Mammoth Cave National Park will receive a $10,000 field trip grant for the 2018-2019 school year from the National Park Foundation, the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service. The funding was secured by the Friends of Mammoth Cave, and will go towards an Environmental Education (EE) program which will bring ten local schools to the park, and will send EE staff directly into schools in the McCracken and Pike County School systems.
This is the first year for the “Sharing Mammoth Cave National Park; from Paducah to Pikeville” program in the park, but the local in-school programs have been conducted since the inception of the EE program in the 1970s. The field trip and in-classroom learning activities focus on educating students on geology, biology, and how good environmental stewardship can positively affect the world around them. Students are taught by trained EE staff and participate in hands on lessons, experiments, and environmental games. Each program offered is tailored to what the students are currently studying in the classroom so the information presented will build upon their regular school lesson plans. During the 2017-2018 school year Mammoth Cave EE staff worked with over 57,000 students both far and near.
“It is wonderful to bring so many local students into the park to experience what is right here in their backyards, but we understand that many students live outside of a reasonable timeframe to drive to the park for a traditional school field trip,” said Dave Wyrick, Chief of Interpretation. “This grant from the National Park Foundation provides us the ability to serve our local counties while also reaching out to students who live a little further away. We are happy to be able to share the national park experience and environmental lessons with schools in both Paducah and Pikeville.”
The grant is part of the Foundation’s Open OutDoors for Kids program which creates pathways for kids to explore and connect with national park experiences.
“Trekking along trails, observing our natural ecosystems and engaging with our shared history are experiences that benefit all children,” said National Park Foundation President Will Shafroth. “Making it possible for America’s youth to explore our national parks is an investment in their future and the future of the national parks community.”
The grant will be received through Friends of Mammoth Cave, the non-profit partner of Mammoth Cave National Park, who works to fund projects and programs that protect, preserve, and enhance the natural and cultural resources and visitor experience at Mammoth Cave.
For more information about the National Park Foundation and the Open OutDoors for Kids campaign visit www.nationalparks.org/our-work.
To learn more about Mammoth Cave’s Environmental Education Program please visit www.nps.gov/maca/learn/education/index.htm.