National Parks Experience

The National Parks Experience provides a unique educational opportunity to Roanoke Catholic students that will expose them to the natural world while teaching them history, science and outdoor skills.   Using one of our national parks, Grand Canyon, Yosemite or Yellowstone, as the focus of the curriculum, students learn about geology, ecology, natural history, human history and native cultures.  Hiking and backpacking trips along the Appalachian Trail provide students with the opportunity to learn outdoor skills and physically prepare for their excursion in the national park.  All the lessons, both on the trail and in the classroom, are brought together during a backpacking trip in the national park during spring break.  While in the park, the geology, ecology and history lessons come to life.  Students see and touch the different rock formations, identify native plants, watch wildlife and visit archaeological sites to learn more about the native people who once lived in these remarkable places.

The effect the National Parks Experience has on the students is life changing.  For many students, this program provided their first exposure to hiking and camping or even their first trip to the western United States.  Conquering the physical demands of backpacking along the Appalachian Trail and the trials in the national park, instills a sense of pride and improves the student’s self confidence.  These young people gain the knowledge, confidence and desire to continue exploring nature.  Nature is a necessary component of a person’s emotional and spiritual development.  The National Parks Experience introduces student to the natural world and immerses them in the beauty and wonder of our national parks.

Please see Our Homepage for more information.  This program is offered to RCS Students as a .5 credit class.

Joe Sweeney, Program Director