The Zion Experience
-Park Field Trips-
For some, Zion National Park is a memorable vacation or family trip. For students in Kane, Iron, and Washington counties, Zion is a backyard park. With limited resources, many of the students in Title 1 schools across the region have never had an experience in the park. As part of a three-touch curriculum-based experience, this initiative sees students from 40 different classrooms in the tri-county area come into the park for a full day of learning and fun.
The field trips are led by rangers, volunteers, and interns, with a strong focus on park stewardship and Leave No Trace principles. Students learn about how the canyon was formed by “carving” their own small canyons in the sands of the riverbanks simulating the forces of erosion. Rangers use the surrounding landscape to connect Utah State standards to park resources and integrate emotional and social learning elements into the hikes. Beyond traditional lessons, students will also gather for quiet journaling time and sense-based nature exploration in the tranquility of Zion. These experiences introduce the concept of nature and the outdoors as a place for reflection and deeper connection enhancing social and emotional learning, which is more crucial than ever.
Your donations complement a grant from the National Park Foundation which matches an additional $20,000 to ensure the park can expand its team and reach more students. When students return to the classroom, they will be encouraged to share photos, write essays, and create presentations to share their experiences. The hope is this will be the first of many park experiences. Many students return to Zion with their families, and some will even get to meet rangers in their classroom or on TV through Zion’s pioneering distance learning initiative.