As you teach your students about nature and the environment, one excellent resource that your school should take advantage of are nearby national parks. Not only are national parks great teaching moments, especially when you take your students on a field trip, but it is also a great public service to cultivate interest in national parks at an early age so your students will have a desire to protect them.
Carefully Planned Day Trips
When planning a day trip to a national park it is important to have activities planned out in advance so you can make the most of the trip. With the time spent getting students on the bus and traveling to and from the destination, there is very little time left over to spare. One example of an activity is to have your students look for and remove invasive plants. Begin by teaching your students about invasive plants long before the day trip. Provide them with information on how to distinguish invasive plants from those that are native to the region. Then, help your students locate and remove these plants, with permission from appropriate wildlife regulatory agencies.
Sometimes, traveling to a national park is impractical. But students can experience national parks without actually visiting them by completing research projects on them. Assign each student a national park that they must research. While you can provide your students with general guidelines so that thy meet pedagogical goals, make sure to also encourage your students to focus on that which they find the most interesting or compelling about the national parks they visit. Since your goal is to instill love in national parks, you will need to allow your students to experience the pleasure of freely exploring their own interests.
National Park Visuals
One way to keep students interested in national parks is with national park nature prints, such as from Places of Grace. These can be hung in the classroom both to keep the classroom stimulating and to have a constant reminder of the parks. Absolutely gorgeous prints will fill your students with wonder and will help them continue to appreciate the beauty of nature. To help get your students even more engaged, encourage them to create their own illustrations or models based off their research conducted on national parks. Generating interest in such a topic is a delicate balance, but by igniting your student's passions, you can help create a new generation that will want to protect the national parks.