A Trail to Every Classroom

This session will look at professional development as a means of reaching out to communities and engaging youth in trail activities.

by Rita Hennessy, National Park Service, Janis Brannon, Science Coordinator, Summit Charter School

This session will look at professional development as a means of reaching out to communities and engaging youth in trail activities. A Trail to Every Classroom (TTEC) was developed by the National Park Service and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy as an innovative three-season program for K-12 teachers that promotes a conservation ethic, civic participation, and healthy lifestyles by using the Appalachian Trail as an educational and active recreational resource. Learn how this model was developed and can be adapted for your trail. Better yet, hear first hand from a TTEC alumni how the program led to the development of multi-disciplinary curruriculum and its affect on kids.

About the Authors

Rita Hennessy, longtime trails administrator and National Park Service veteran, is the new program manager for the Service’s National Trails System. Hennessy’s signature project at the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, or the AT, as it is called, was the cooperative management system. Within this system, she engaged with hundreds of partners and thousands of volunteers. Most recently, she led development of the trail’s foundation document and business plan.

Hennessy holds an undergraduate degree in recreation resource management from the University of Montana and a master’s degree in community change and civic leadership from Antioch McGregor. She has 26 years with the National Park Service. In addition to her service on the Appalachian Trail, she has been stationed at Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks and at Rock Creek Park and the National Mall, both in Washington.

Janis Brannon is the Science Coordinator for Summit Charter School in Cashiers, North Carolina, teaching middle school science as well as supplemental environmental education classes for grades K-5. She also works with all school staff to integrate environmental education into all aspects of the curriculum, and has taught in traditional and non-traditional science education settings for 17 years. Janis has been with Summit Charter School for the last three academic school years. Janis and four other teachers from Summit Charter School are alumni of the 2007 TTEC program.

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