To highlight the National Park Service’s upcoming centennial in 2016, Grand Teton National Park will soon be launching a multi-year initiative focused on local “Class of 2016” students.
In partnership with the Grand Teton Association (GTA) and Jackson Hole High School, park staff will provide hands-on lessons and experiences for students throughout their high school years. Through this outreach program, Grand Teton hopes to create opportunities for students to find meaningful experiences in their nearby national park and gain a better understanding of its significance.
A kick-off event for the Class of 2016 initiative held yesterday introduced a group of freshman students to park scientists, interpreters and climbing rangers. During this initial event, students hiked with a ranger and discussed the ecology of the park, explored the Craig Thomas Discovery Center’s exhibits, and discovered how the area became a national park.
Over the next four years park staff will work with students in this multi-faceted program to provide similar experiences to upcoming high school classes. Members from the Class of 2016 initiative will serve as mentors to their underclass peers.
In partnership with the GTA, the park will host a Class of 2016 essay and creative arts scholarship competition. Through “From Past to Present: Stewardship for the Future,” students will respond to park-related prompts through essays, art, poetry, song or photography. GTA will fund the scholarship as well as transportation, materials and other supplies for programs and events.
The Class of 2016 initiative is one of many action items laid out in ‘A Call to Action’ by Director Jarvis. A ‘Call to Action’ charts a path toward a second-century vision for the NPS by asking park employees and partners to commit to concrete actions that advance the mission of the NPS. In conjunction with many other action items, it also directs all parks to help students develop a deep understanding of park resources and the relevance of parks in their lives through a series of park education programs.
Hiking in Glacier National Park