Concrete-to-Canyons (C2C) is Zion National Park’s best-known and most ambitious outreach program. With assistance from the Zion National Park Forever Project, students from Las Vegas and Mesquite, Nevada are invited to Zion National Park for three days of activities and camping inside the park. They hike with rangers, take part in lessons that connect their classroom curriculum with Zion’s resources, and become more comfortable and confident outdoors. Students’ transportation, camping supplies, and food costs are fully covered, making this trip available for all. The partner schools participating in this program are Title 1 schools, and most students have not visited Zion or a national park site previously.
A teacher and chaperone skill-building workshop takes place before the trip. This workshop is designed to familiarize and prepare teachers and chaperones with their roles and duties at camp and give them the confidence to teach camping skills to students. Park rangers meet with the students and their parents before the trip and share information about park resources, safety, and what to pack. Once in the park, students learn new concepts in a real-life setting such as how to pitch a tent, the difference between various habitats, the importance of night skies, and wilderness ethics.
After visiting Zion, the students and rangers reconnect at the National Park Service site near Las Vegas. They participate in restoration projects and work with the greenhouse staff in that park. Once they are back home, students present and share their experiences and understanding with their families and the community.
As the program has continued to grow and develop, park staff are excited to introduce elements related to social and emotional learning supplementing the traditional education looking at Zion as more than a classroom, but a space that benefits emotional health. Park leaders hope to expand the program in future seasons to include not only students from cities but also students from rural and tribal lands. With your continued support, this program, identified as essential to the park mission, will continue through the 2022 season sharing the Zion experience and ensuring the parks remain accessible to everyone.
“I specifically want to compliment the rangers on their patience when working with our students . . . I am sure that this program will have a lasting impact on all of these students as they move forward. I am so grateful for this opportunity and am looking forward to a continuing partnership with C2C, Zion National Park, and Lake Mead National Recreation Area.” –Robert Mitchell, IB/Magnet Coordinator, Kit Carson International Academy