Experiences, anecdotes, tips, how-tos, hiking, nature, motherhood, memories.

Adventures in Camping with Kids

Camping with kids is like pitching a tent upside down. Both are bound to fill with laughter and raindrops.

--Victoria Marie

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Happy 100th Birthday to the National Park Service: The Need for National Parks

National Parks are a vital part of peace
and education for people everywhere. 
I believe the United States would be lost without our National Parks.  Places of natural beauty, storehouses of national knowledge are important treasure for people and families around the globe.  

As much as people need other people, they also need time to themselves, a place to go to find peace.  To stop.  To rest.  To listen within.  The beauty in nature helps people and families find solace. 

Now this is where the National Park Service can help.

National Parks and families go together like sunshine and blue skies.  Park ranger programs are the lifeblood of any stay in a National Park.  My family and I know this firsthand from our many adventures camping with kids.  I’ve addressed the importance of National Parks before on my Camping with Kids blog in the post entitled “National Parks and Families.”  I’ve also discussed the important issue of selling private land within national parks for commercial development in my post entitled “The Future Enjoyment of National Parks.”  

My family and I have learned from Park Rangers that National Parks are for discovery:  
We have found life within the emptiness of a desert, a diverse ecosystem, lichen upon rocks, the fragility of sand pavement. 
Arches National Park
                the diversity of the desert
We’ve seen the ages of geology painted in the canyon walls of the west. 
We’ve wondered at the archaeology that uncovered artwork of an ancient people and learned about their culture.
Mesa Verde National Park
                discovering the culture
               of the Ancient Ones
We’ve listened to volumes of history constructing the freedom needed to make our government great.

On our family camping trips to National Parks, we’ve discovered the excitement of watching the Milky Way pop out in a blackened night sky while reclining on a beach.  We smelled the heady fragrances of ponderosa pine in spring and wild rose in June.  We sought out shelter from the rain under the canopy of trees in a national forest, experienced the coolness of caves or crystal clear mountain water in summertime, and felt the moisture cling to our skin hiking up into the clouds on a mountain trail.

The cooling mountain waters in
                 Yosemite National Park

The centuries of knowledge that the United States National Parks hold are not just for those who can visit the parks firsthand.  Not with today’s technology.  Teachers, schools, parents, and students around the world can discover facts and find lessons on history, science, art, geology, biology, archaeology, and much more on the National Park Service’s Find Your Park website.  Scroll down to "America’s Classrooms for Teachers" to find a treasure trove of resources for teachers. 
Choose a park.
Pick a program.
Receive lesson plans with a defined vocabulary list.
Find grade level distance learning programs [park ranger presentations] available.

National Parks are needed in today’s world not only for the beauty and solace they provide, but also for the knowledge they share with others.  Bravo, National Park Service.  Happy Birthday!