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June 12, 2014 – Leaving on a jet plane…

June 12, 2015

Come forth into the light of things,
Let nature be your teacher.

~William Wordsworth

Very early Sunday morning, 12 NC educators and 2 Museum staff will begin the adventure of a lifetime exploring Yellowstone National Park on one of the Museum’s Educators of Excellence Institutes. We will observe and study the Park’s diverse wildlife, get off the beaten path on some of its trails, and learn about the tremendous geological forces that drive its amazing thermal features.

Bacterial Mats at Grand Prismatic Spring

Bacterial Mats at Grand Prismatic Spring

The last week has been full of preparations – gathering educational and reference materials, making final arrangements with local experts, and packing gear. Everyone seems very excited to finish the school year and leave the everyday behind as we head to Yellowstone.

In the Educators of Excellence program, Museum staff strive to create a synergistic group learning environment, filled with opportunities for experiential education. This model, introduced by Mary Ann Brittain, a beloved former staff member, has helped this program make a difference for North Carolina educators since 1987.

We start the trip by setting goals for ourselves, requiring each of us to take ownership of our own learning. Each day, we take time as a group to reflect on our experience. Everyone has their own ‘expert topic’ that they will come prepared to share about, placing each member of the group in the role of the educator. Teams of teachers are responsible each day for recording weather data and wildlife sightings. Others are responsible for publishing to this blog. Local experts will share their deep knowledge of the Park and their personal experiences living there. It is my hope that by the end of the trip, each person will have forged connections to our first national park and to each other.

Over the course of this trip, you will hear from the participating educators, in their own words, what it’s like to explore and learn in Yellowstone National Park. We hope you enjoy following along on our adventure!

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