As of late, many more school groups have been taking interest in field trip opportunities here at New River Gorge National River. The ranger staff cannot handle several groups at a time, so unfortunately they have had to turn some classes away. My job for the summer is to design a program that will allow school teachers to have enough resources to take their classes on self-led field trips to the park, reducing the over-booking of rangers. The materials I develop need to be both fun and educational. During the school year, teachers must meet certain education requirements with their students. We do not want field trips to the park to be perceived as “wasted time” or just “play time,” so part of the West Virginia teaching standards for grades 3-6 must be covered by the program material. In addition to creating the in-park instructions and activities, I will also be putting together pre and post trip activities to holistically cover the learning objectives and solidify in children’s minds the ideas discussed on the trip. Once the materials are drafted, my supervisor and I will test the program on a group of Girl Scouts to find any mistakes or holes that need fixing, and revise accordingly. I am already deep into the planning process and cannot wait to see how my project will affect the lives of the kids that visit the gorge.

Main overlook at Grandview Visitor Center, New River Gorge National River

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