Thursday, October 22, 2009

National Park Hosts Live Electronic Field Trip for Students

On Tuesday, November 3, millions of students from all over the country will visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park on an Electronic Field Trip, during which they will explore one of the richest ecosystems on earth. The National Park Service, National Park Foundation, UPS Foundation, and Apple are teaming up to showcase the biodiversity of the Park for students around the country via this live broadcast. From the comfort of their classrooms, elementary and middle school students will be able to interact with National Park Rangers and local student hosts from North Carolina and Tennessee and learn about biodiversity and the wonders of the Smokies.

An interactive website, www.smokymountainseft.org, is now available for teachers and students to prepare for the electronic field trip through six learning modules with interactive games, video podcasts, and lesson plans. Schools can still register to participate in the broadcast through the website. Once schools have registered on the website, they can begin their adventure to Great Smoky Mountains National Park exploring the Park’s rich biodiversity of plants and animals. During the live broadcast, students can call in or e-mail their questions, and a bank of experts from the Park will be available to answer them. The live 60-minute program will air via satellite, cable and webcast from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, November 3.

“The Smokies is home to more than 17,000 known species of plants and animals making it world renowned for its biological diversity,” said Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson. “Even so, new species are continually being discovered in this mountain wonderland. We’re excited that students around the country will learn about biodiversity, what it is, why they should care about it, and what they can do to protect it both in the Smokies and in their own backyards,” continued Ditmanson.

Local students in 6th through 8th grades in East Tennessee and Western North Carolina auditioned to be the student talent who will work with Park Rangers in the field during the broadcast to search for salamanders, sift through leaf litter, and turn over rocks in streams in order to showcase the biodiversity of the park for other students. The show will be based in and around the Twin Creeks Science and Education Center in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Questions about registration and/or broadcasting should be addressed to: Carolyn Hill, chill@nationalparks.org.

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