The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes and the National Lakeshore were selected to receive a grant from the National Park Foundation (NPF), the official charity of America’s national parks, to provide educational snowshoe programs this winter! Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes also received a grant from the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation to provide additional snowshoes, hats, mittens, and art supplies for this program.
The National Lakeshore will be offering personalized snowshoe field trips for fourth grade classes in the months of January, February, and March. Learn about winter ecology and snow science in a hands-on, experiential format while hiking on snowshoes through the National Lakeshore. The grants will be used to pay for school bus transportation costs, snowshoes and snowshoe repair, and classroom materials.
The pre and post-visit activities developed for teachers to use with students help build background knowledge and create excitement for the hike. The lesson during the hike will allow students to explore concepts in winter ecology and snow science. The post-visit activities are designed to extend learning and to give students the opportunity to be creative and to connect learning to the real world. Lessons are designed to work together, yet can be used in a mix and match way based on student interest and needs.
The snowshoe program was targeting fourth grade classes, but other classes were also allowed to participate when there was availability on our schedule. 1,180 students from 35 classrooms in 24 schools attended the snowshoe program in 2017.
“These grants are planting the seeds for lifelong relationships with national parks and their programs,” said Will Shafroth, NPF President. “By providing access to transformative experiences like listening to the sound of birds chirping, walking the halls of a school that tell a civil rights story, looking up at a dark night sky, or pitching a tent with a friend for the first time, these children are forever impacted. We appreciate the power of national parks and, through our support, the National Park Foundation hopes to share them with as many kids as possible.”
For additional information about Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, please visit www.nps.gov/slbe.