WASHINGTON, July 21, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks, has awarded $504,000 in grants to 28 national parks through its Park Stewards program. Now in its sixth year, this program gives high school teachers and students the opportunity to explore the relevance of national parks to their lives, and enables them to become civically engaged stewards of their national parks through year-long service-learning projects.
"With our Park Stewards program, teachers and students are able to explore science, nature, sustainability, and more through America's largest living classrooms – our national parks," said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation.
"This program will provide an introduction to national parks for many children and foster lifelong connections," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "Through a series of engaging educational, recreational and volunteer experiences, the teachers and their students will get the chance to really immerse themselves in the park's resources."
University of Phoenix is now serving in its third year as the program's official educational sponsor. The University is committed to opening opportunities for education and workplace readiness, and supporting sustainable solutions for environmental health. Its support of the Park Stewards program helps both teachers and students build a deeper connection to and sense of stewardship for America's national parks, while offering students the chance to explore new career horizons.
"University of Phoenix is proud to once again support the National Park Foundation in helping build future generations of national park enthusiasts and supporters," said Pat Gottfried, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility for Apollo Education Group, parent company of University of Phoenix. "The University has long supported environmental stewardship in our operations, offered sustainability-related degree programs and engaged in environmental philanthropy across the nation. We welcome the opportunity to continue to reinforce this commitment through our support of the National Park Foundation and the teachers and students it impacts."
Since 2009, the Park Stewards program has made it possible for 110 high school teachers to work in parks over their summer break, creating engaging curriculum to teach to their students in the coming school year. During their time in the parks, the teachers and park staff also develop service-learning projects for students to take part in during the school year. The projects tie to state academic standards and make meaningful impacts in the national parks. Examples of projects include monitoring water quality, creating digital history apps, hosting a BioBlitz, and designing art sculptures.
In addition, two students from each grantee school team will be selected for summer internships that will help support and grow their interest in national parks and the National Park Service.
The 2014 Park Stewards grantees are:
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore (WI)
Assateague Island National Seashore (MD)
Augusta Canal National Heritage Area (GA)
Aztec Ruins National Monument (NM)
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument (FL)
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (MD)
Christiansted National Historic Site (VI)
Cuyahoga Valley National Park (OH)
Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park (OH)
Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site (CA)
George Rogers Clark National Historical Park (IN)
Grand Canyon National Park (AZ)
Gulf Islands National Seashore (FL)
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (WV)
Independence National Historical Park (PA)
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (IN)
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (MO)
Knife River Indian Village National Historic Site (ND)
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park (VT)
Montezuma Castle National Monument (AZ)
New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park (MA)
River Raisin National Battlefield Park (MI)
Rocky Mountain National Park (CO)
Saguaro National Park (AZ)
Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site (NH)
Salem Maritime National Historic Site (MA)
San Juan Island National Historical Park (WA)
Shiloh National Military Park (TN)
A listing of these parks and their project descriptions can be found on the National Park Foundation website.
The National Park Foundation also wishes to thank Subaru of America for their generous support of the Park Stewards program.
For more information on the National Park Foundation and how to support and protect America's national parks, please visit www.nationalparks.org.
ABOUT UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX
University of Phoenix is constantly innovating to help working adults move efficiently from education to careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant and engaging courses, and interactive learning can help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. As a subsidiary of Apollo Education Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: APOL), University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population, offering associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world. For more information, visit www.phoenix.edu.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America's national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards.
National Park Foundation
University of Phoenix
SOURCE National Park Foundation