Parks Climate Challenge

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How To Train
The Parks Climate Challenge program began in 2009 as a direct engagement of youth in national parks where students learned about climate change through service and experience.  It has evolved into a teacher training program, providing teachers the tools to effectively educate their students about climate change using national parks as a classroom and engaging them in service.  While still directly engaging youth in a similar manner to the one used in the first year of Parks Climate Challenge, training teachers allows the program to reach a much larger number of youth.    

This section of the website enables educators to train themselves using the Parks Climate Challenge model.   Below are five steps outlining the process we recommend educators use to train themselves to teach climate change subject matter through national parks.

Step 1: Climate Literacy – Take a look at the Climate Literacy Principles developed by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.  These are the guiding and organizing principles for our resource offerings and are the measure by which you can judge the progress of your student’s understanding of climate change.

Step 2: Training videos– Parks Climate Challenge teacher training workshops were conducted at four national parks this summer.  Watch selected segments from one of these trainings to share the experience. Hear speakers explain the process of teaching climate change material and the rationale for using national parks as a classroom for the subject matter.  Completing Steps 1 and 2 will help prepare you to use the resources in Steps 3 through 5 to teach your students.

Step 3: Lesson Plans – Use national park focused lesson plans to teach the principles of climate literacy in your classroom. 

Step 4: Games – Use interactive, national park focused games with your students to help them understand the concepts behind climate literacy.

Step 5: External Resources – There is a world of resources beyond this website to support your own education as well as that of your students.  Click through our “External Resources” section for a centralized list of climate change education materials and information related to national parks and beyond.

Why Use Parks as Classrooms?
Before you begin working through the steps of self-training, you might wonder why using national parks as a classroom for climate change education is important and useful.  National parks are ideal classrooms because they belong to all of us and there is already significant evidence of climate change impacts visible within their boundaries. It affects the coral reefs in Florida at Biscayne National Park, the massive stands of lodgepole pines in Rocky Mountain National Park and animals that rely on snow in Yellowstone National Park. Climate change affects irreplaceable cultural treasures as well as plants and animals in the parks.

The National Park Service also sees education and community engagement as two of its primary goals and welcomes your use of the national parks as a place to learn and engage your students in solutions to climate change.  To find a national park near you, click here:  To learn more about national parks and climate change, click here:

The National Park Foundation is the national charitable partner of the National Park Service.
1201 Eye Street, NW, Suite 550B, Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 354-6460 Email:
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