Park Stewards

How We Help

The Park Stewards program, sponsored by the University of Phoenix, 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. These service-learning activities allow students to apply academic knowledge and critical thinking skills (in addition to physical skills as appropriate) to address genuine needs of the park. The resulting curriculum engages their students and meets all local, state, and national education standards.

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Success Story

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Park Stewards Grantees

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Students will help further the scientific knowledge of park resources, improve conditions on the park's Lakeshore Trail, help create a new exhibit at the Michigan Island Lighthouse, and help improve the fee station at Meyers Beach. Students conducting independent research in the park will continue to prepare presentations for fellow students, park staff, regional and national science fairs and competitions. This involvement in civic engagement reaches far beyond the boundaries of the national lakeshore.
Assateague Island National Seashore
Students will help the park design business and marketing strategies, create media products, and design and implement community health materials and activities.
Aztec Ruins National Monument
This project fosters a sense of lifelong public lands stewardship in the Park Stewards/Adopt a Class of 2016 and their peers. Specific activities will include developing ethnobotanic knowledge to interpret a Native Plants walk and write curriculum.
Castillo De San Marcos National Monument
This project will design hands-on activities that emphasize the importance of civics and leadership skills, and include a mentoring component. Students will digitally document their activities and will share with external audiences, including hosting a special event at the fort for their families and friends.
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
The Citizen Scientists Program will feature a curriculum-based education program involving water quality monitoring, macroinvertebrate stream analysis, and invasive plant identification, as well as a service learning component that will allow students to continue data collection throughout the school year and develop a model for service learning that can be replicated year after year.
Christiansted National Historic Site
"Christiansted's Cultural Ambassador Program: Packaging a New St. Croix" is a three-part program that takes a traditional speech/debate curriculum and steeps it in the cultural resources at the Christiansted National Historic Site. Through experience, writing, and spoken word, students will learn to retell, in their own words, the history that they have learned so that they can share their knowledge with their peers, elders, and the broader community.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Students will adopt a trail system within the park and work alongside their teachers, park staff, and volunteers to create a more sustainable and accessible trail for future visitors. The hands-on nature of this program will allow students the opportunity to help the park create a template for learning and trail conservation for the future.
Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park
This project will provide an opportunity for MSA students to learn more about their neighborhood and its connection to the park. They will create a sequence of experiences, called the Wright Path, which will include historical information and mini replicas of Wright flyer airplanes. These airplanes will help others learn about the cultural and historical significance of the area. The students will also share what they discover on the park and school's social media platforms.
Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site
This park will partner with the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts (a local and community-based organization) and Richmond High School (a Title 1 school) to develop a sustainable curriculum and service-learning model that weaves the historical and cultural importance of Eugene O'Neill's works at Tao House into student learning. Students will connect to the park, grow their awareness of the plays and themes central to O'Neill's work, and finally, perform extracts & contemporary adaptations of O'Neill's work in a public performance and video installation.
George Rogers Clark National Historical Park
The teacher and students will help the park tell its story digitally, and will help the park develop new curriculum-based programs to offer to teachers outside the immediate area of the park, including developing pre and post-visit materials.
Grand Canyon National Park
This project will provide hands-on learning for students who will design and produce videos of people, places, and things of importance to Grand Canyon's natural and cultural history. The video library will help future generations understand the park's resources and inspire stewardship. Interpretive park rangers will be able to share the videos with the public in-park, during distance learning programs, and on social media platforms, thereby enhancing the public's appreciation and stewardship of park resources.
Gulf Islands National Seashore
Students from the local community will help with efforts to conserve endangered sea turtles nesting on the beaches in this park. "Turtle This" will engage high school students and their teacher in current monitoring and research alongside park rangers. Through service learning/citizen science, the students will apply scientific concepts learned in the classroom, practice and apply scientific field methods in a real-world scientific study, and discover the effects of natural and man-made environmental changes on the wildlife and ecosystems on the seashore.
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
The students become environmental stewards through a series of self-selected projects such as water quality monitoring, clearing trails, developing trash free/recycling projects, conducting Appalachian Trail conservation work, creating videos for youth park visitors, and helping Natural Resource Management team with inventorying and monitoring such as with deer population. The high school youth will also mention elementary youth.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
This project will connect students from an under-served rural community to the park. The lead teacher will receive in-depth training about interpretation and resource management on restoration, and will share what is learned with other teachers in the state and region through teacher workshops offered throughout the year, via the web, and in-person presentations.
Independence National Historical Park
The students will create a "Traveling Trunk" and an online virtual exhibit. The trunk will cater to various learning styles and be provided to schools either before or after their park visit. The trunk program will be brought to neighborhoods within inner city Philadelphia. Students will also help the park create an online virtual exhibit that will offer visitors the opportunity to "see" behind-the-scenes historic sites at the park.
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
This project will engage four classes of American Government students (60 students total) in researching and documenting the role communities play in the preservation of national parks, as this park is currently in the process of revitalizing its grounds and exhibits. The students' service project will give them a real-world experience that connects to their curriculum as they'll have the chance to be civically engaged with the national park. Students will learn how to inform the public about this process through research, tracking, and evaluation. Students will work with park personnel to understand the planning process and involvement of private and nonprofit organizations.
Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site
The major outcomes of this project are a complete unit of on prairie ecology including programs about prairie restoration, ecology, wetlands, and invasive species to add to the growing curriculum. Student learning is assessed in an ongoing basis through dialogue, reflection, and assignments and participation.
Marsh - Billings - Rockefeller National Historical Park
Students will have an interdisciplinary learning experience, explore real-world issues that will impact their future, and talk to scientists and others experts who can serve as inspirational role models. They will choose a hypothesis and create their own research plan for mercury monitoring. Students will share their findings publicly through scientific poster presentations, blogs, and more. By working with other citizen scientists at national parks, they will see examples of how volunteers make a difference and how collaboration helps to generate new ideas.
Montezuma Castle National Monument
More than 1000 students will have the opportunity to experience first-hand the challenges of habitat restoration, become a part of the habitat restoration process, and gain an increased sense of self. They will grow and plant more than 800 plants, gain a sense of understanding and stewardship of the environment, while also expanding their knowledge of local ecosystems.
New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park
Teacher partners and high school students will pilot a distance learning program to interact with shipwreck divers that research and preserve sunken whaling vessels. Youth will provide research to deepen our understanding of known whaling shipwrecks and sites as yet unknown. Youth will benefit from an increased awareness of career opportunities, exposure to federal hiring authorities, and an understanding of how to pursue federal careers. Students will participate in public awareness presentations, as well as contribute the results of their research to the New B Under the Sea website and assist other students as they contribute their voice to the website.
Saguaro National Park
Youth from Arizona College Prep Academy have been involved for several years with the Park Stewards program. They have been assisting the park's Natural Resource Managers with monitoring wildlife and the health of the park's signature saguaro. This year, the program will expand to include the entire school and an additional lead teacher. Students will be offered a variety of educational, service learning, and recreational opportunities.
Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site
Students from Stevens High School will participate in two authentic resource management and monitoring activities. In the fall semester, students will monitor the levels of mercury in the local stream ecosystem. In the winter and spring, students will study the fluctuation of nitrogen in the watershed. In addition to biological sciences and chemistry, the trips will also include exposure to other park resources relevant to curriculum objectives in Art, History, or English classes.
Salem Maritime National Historic Site
Salem Maritime National Historic Site and Essex National Heritage Area will partner with Lowell's Boat Shop and Amesbury High School to implement, "Maritime Math." Students will apply mathematics concepts in real-world maritime environments, while developing a connection to the park and their community that will lead to lifelong learning and stewardship. They will also create interpretive products, developing interactive activities, and mentoring park staff in how to engage visitors in the maritime math-based concepts they explore.
San Juan Island National Historical Park
Through the implementation of an expanded curriculum and BioBlitz, students will gain a better understanding of the park's inventory and monitoring needs and will have the opportunity to help meet those needs. Students will also get a better sense of the types of technologies used by scientists and will understand how their lessons correlate to real-world scientific data collection and how their participation in the BioBlitz is contributing to regional, scientific data.
Shiloh National Military Park
This project engages local high school students and will help to instill public awareness and stewardship for the historic resources in their community. Working with the local high school and partner teacher, curriculum will be developed to enhance student understanding of the historic resources and how preservation of these relates to their quality of life. Students will complete a historic landscape project to repair a walking trail, permitting visitors to have access to historic cultural resources. Trail work will consist of removing old trail material, tree roots, and other debris. Students will then install needed water bars for erosion prevention, a foot bridge, and mulch.
Rocky Mountain National Park
This project will develop and implement a high school curriculum for Grand, Jackson, and Summit counties that links Colorado Education Standards to park resources and themes. Participants will create pre-visit materials for the park's online education portal, in-park learning activities and programs, and post-visit evaluative materials. Materials will include student-produced experiential videos and a media library. In addition, service learning activities will use GPS and GIS equipment together with cameras to create photomonitoring data.
River Raisin National Battlefield Park
"Brownfield to America's 393rd National Park -- Exploring & Monitoring Park Environmental Health" is a partnership with Ecorse Community High School that will engage students in learning about how the battlefield, once riddled with abandoned industrial debris and waist, was restored and became America's only national battlefield park dedicated to telling the story of the War of 1812. Students will develop and implement a new long-term monitoring program involving air, water, and soil quality analysis. The data collected will be compiled in a database used for comparison by future classes.


The program is made possible through the generous support of The University of Phoenix.