SAN FRANCISCO, April 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- NatureBridge, the largest residential environmental science education partner of the National Park Service, today announced an exciting expansion that brings its successful program model to the East Coast in Prince William Forest Park, located in Triangle, Virginia. In collaboration with Prince William County Public Schools and the National Park Service--and funded by Google--NatureBridge will demonstrate the power of outdoor, place-based learning to students and teachers and will work to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards.
"NatureBridge strives to bring the wonder and science of nature to students in national parks across the country," said Susan Smartt, president and CEO, NatureBridge. "Prince William Forest Park was built 75 years ago on the idea of connecting youth with nature, and we are thrilled to work with the community, schools and National Park Service to rediscover the power of this place."
During the month of April, NatureBridge will host a demonstration program in Prince William Forest Park, the largest green space in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Local seventh grade students from Graham Park and Rippon Middle Schools, two of the county's math and science magnet schools, were selected to be part of the program, which includes hands-on lessons in areas of STEM--science, technology, engineering and math. Curricula will draw from the Virginia State Standards of Learning and are designed to take advantage of the park's easy access to water features and Piedmont Forest, as well as the park's geology and rich cultural history.
"This historic park, like all 397 national parks, is a powerful classroom," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "Students get excited about learning when they can incorporate all of their senses and experience something first hand. NatureBridge really immerses the students into the park and provides programs that are educational and fun. It is especially meaningful to me that the students will visit Prince William Forest Park where I worked as a park ranger early in my career. I know they will form lifelong memories of this special place, just like I did."
In support of A Call to Action, the National Park Service's blueprint to prepare for its second century of stewardship, this demonstration program will provide a scalable residential field science education model that can help achieve the goal of reaching 25 percent of American's school children.
"Education and community involvement were founding principles of our park," said Superintendent of Prince William Forest Park Vidal Martinez. "Prince William Forest Park is an ideal setting that will inspire and educate students, and we look forward to future residential education programs in partnership with NatureBridge."
Upon completion of the program demonstration, NatureBridge will continue its work with Prince William County Public Schools and the National Park Service to evaluate and measure the demonstration program's success, and create a program blueprint that can be used to help spread environmental science education to national parks across the country.
NatureBridge is thankful for the generous support of the National Park Service, Google, the Education Foundation for Prince William County Schools, Guest Services, Inc. and the greater Prince William community. The organization is also proud to work with an amazing group of principals, teachers, students and parents from Graham Park and Rippon Middle schools.
Local residents are encouraged to meet the NatureBridge team at the Bluebell Festival at Merrimac Farm on Sunday, April 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Founded in 1971 in Yosemite National Park and now based in San Francisco, NatureBridge is a leader in residential field science and environmental education for America's youth. Its mission is to inspire personal connections to the natural world and responsible actions to sustain it. A signature partner of the National Park Service, NatureBridge currently operates campuses in Yosemite National Park, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Olympic National Park in Washington State, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and Channel Islands National Park. It collectively serves more than 40,000 participants annually through field science, youth leadership and teacher training programs. NatureBridge partners with a diverse mix of corporate, environmental, education, federal and state organizations also focused on nurturing environmental stewardship, including Clif Bar, Google, Klean Kanteen, National Geographic Education Foundation, National Parks Conservation Association, Oracle and REI. NatureBridge is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information, visit www.naturebridge.org.
Shannon Hutto | Bateman Group for NatureBridge
(415) 503-1818 | [email protected]
Gwendolyn Tornatore | NatureBridge
(415) 992-4783 | [email protected]