Harlow Seminar – August 3rd, 2023, Ana Houseal
The talk will also be available via Zoom (The zoom link will be made available through our email list. If you are not on the list, please click here to join: https://uwnps.org/mailing-list/)
From the Golden Gate National Parks, Grand Tetons, and the Great Smokies to Monticello, Civil War battlefields, and Japanese internment camps, students of all ages are learning first-hand, in motivating and authentic ways, about climate change, U. S. history, biodiversity, and cultural diversity. Virtual field trips to the Grand Canyon, Alaska’s Katmai National Park, and more than 40 NPS units became even more popular during the Covid crisis. These immersive, place-based experiences also lead learners to reconsider their own goals and abilities. Since educating the whole person should include experiential learning in local communities, states, and regions, our National Park System sites represent our nation’s most significant landscapes, ecosystems, and historical/cultural sites. This talk will explore ideas about life-long learning within our National Park System and share case studies and research findings from a book released at the beginning of the pandemic, America’s Largest Classroom: What We Learn from Our National Parks (U. California Press, 2020). As exemplified in this volume, these places extend beyond the well-known parks, thus “America’s Best Idea” needs our continued vision about what it helps us all know and begin to understand about our country and ourselves.
Ana Houseal, PhD, is a Professor and Science Outreach Educator for the Science and Mathematics Teaching Center at the University of Wyoming. Her work focuses on science education in formal (public schools) and non-formal (National Parks) settings. Dr. Houseal and her team have been facilitating responsive K-12 science teacher professional development all over Wyoming since 2012, regarding the implementation of the new science standards using place-based phenomena and instructional storylines. Dr. Houseal’s research and scholarship sits at the intersection of science, place, science standards and shifts in instruction. Further, she explores how connections to our public lands can satisfy many of these objectives. In this way, she supports crossovers between formal and non-formal spaces in ways that benefit both.