National Lakeshore join forces for teacher programThe National Park Service and the School District of Bayfield have agreed to cooperate in a program that will allow a teacher from the Bayfield School to spend part of his summer as a park ranger at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
The National Park Service and the School District of Bayfield have agreed to cooperate in a program that will allow a teacher from the Bayfield School to spend part of his summer as a park ranger at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
The Teacher to Ranger to Teacher program provides opportunities for teachers to experience working in national parks. Teachers develop lesson plans based on their experience for use in the classroom.
The program focuses on teachers from schools that have diverse student populations, who may have little opportunity to explore the relevance that national park areas can have in their lives. The program is designed for under-served urban and rural school districts.
Teachers spend the summer working as park rangers and often live in the parks. The parks provide a uniform, housing and a supplementary payment for the teachers. Teacher rangers perform various duties depending on their interests and the needs of the park, including developing and presenting interpretive programs for the general public, staffing the visitor center, developing curriculum-based materials for the park or taking on special projects. During the school year, teacher-rangers bring the parks into the classroom by developing and presenting curriculum-based lessons that draw on their summer experience. In April, during National Park Week, teacher-rangers wear their NPS uniforms to school, discuss their summer as a park ranger, and engage students and other teachers in activities that relate to America’s national parks.
Linda Kunelius, school district administrator in Bayfield, and Myra Foster, acting superintendent of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore signed the agreement to start the program in action.
Rick Erickson, a science teacher in the Bayfield High School, has been selected as the first teacher participating in the program. Mr. Erickson has already begun implementing curriculum in his chemistry classes that is based on results of NPS research on bald eagles in the park.
Part of his duties as a ranger will be to refine this curriculum, prepare an interpretive program about the bioaccumulation of toxic chemicals in bald eagles, and to begin work on a new curriculum for his physics classes based on the physics of light and sound relating to lighthouses.
The National Park Service and Bayfield School District hope that the program becomes an important part of ongoing efforts to provide more opportunities for area students to make personal connections with the significance of park resources.