NPS -- Environmental Education Program
for Schools & Groups
An Outdoor Classroom
Rocky Mountain National Park is an ideal outdoor classroom. It has a diversity of natural resources, easy spring and fall access, close proximity to Front Range communities, availability of the Moraine Park Museum and Kawuneeche Visitor Center, and a wealth of identified field sites that correlate to the newly developed Hart of the Rockies Adventure Guides. The Park's Environmental Education Specialist can assist teachers and group leaders interested in using Park resources to incorporate environmental education into their curriculum. Upon special request and availability, a ranger can visit your classroom for a pre-trip introduction to the Park. Entrance fee waivers are available from many types of school visits. Please call or write for information (see bottom of page).
Heart of the Rockies: a New Curriculum
Rocky Mountain National Park and Thorne Ecological Institute of Boulder, Colorado have developed the Heart of the Rockies Adventure Guides. Use the Moraine Park Museum as a starting point, this teacher-friendly resource provides step by step activities and information for planning a successful and fun field trip to study sites in the Park. The Guides contain presite, onsite and postsite activities that connect the natural diversity of the Rocky Mountain National Park to your community. And they provide a complete correlation of onsite activities to specific trails and locations. The Adventure Guides are available by enrolling in one of your teacher workshops, another great way to discover Rocky. Participants in the workshops visit a variety of field sites for demonstrations of activities from the Adventure Guides. University credit is often available. Join us, won't you?
Planning a Field Trip
Applications for entrance fee waivers and reservations for Moraine Park Museum must be made at least a month in advance of visiting the Park. Because of the program's popularity, it is a good idea to have alternate trip days in mind. While we would like to spend time with every class that comes to the park, this is not always possible. The Heart of the Rockies Adventure Guides are designed for teachers to conduct a successful and enjoyable field trip. We suggest a planning visit to the museum and field sites in advance. The Park's environmental Education specialist can help with a variety of natural resources related topics. If you need assistance in planning a unit or theme, please call (See end of page).
Ranger welcome talks are given to the entire school group first at the outdoor museum amphitheater. The maximum number of students permitted in the museum is forty at one time. Larger schools should have smaller preassigned groups. After the Ranger talk, the smaller groups will rotate through the museum at thirty minute intervals. Please have activities, such as those offered in the Adventure Guides, prepared for groups waiting to enter and to keep students on task in the museum. All adults are responsible for each student's behavior. Adults must accompany students throughout the museum. Schools are responsible for any damage caused by their students.
Please be aware of and teach your students the necessity for Rocky Mountain's rules and regulations. These are provided for you in the Park map/brochure or by asking a ranger. Please be gentle on the land. Do not collect specimens, allow students to cut trails, or to relieve themselves within 200 feet of a water source. And of course "Leave no Trace" of your visit.
Weather in Rocky Mountain National Park changes quickly. Be sure students are prepared for adverse weather. Students should dress in layers, and always take along a warm jacket or sweater. Check for appropriate clothing before students board the bus. Shoes with laces and drinking water are essential. On the trails, never leave a tired or ill student alone to be picked up later. Should a student (or adult) become separated from the group, contact park rangers immediately. An ideal ration is one adult chaperon to each ten students.
During the school year, park staff may be available on a limited basis to visit your classroom and discuss topics relevant to your curriculum and an upcoming trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. Slide presentation and hand-on-items such as skins and antlers are available fro classroom presentations. Please contact the Environmental Education Specialist for details.
Who to Contact
To arrange for a visit to Moraine Park Museum, an entrance fee waiver application, participation in the Heart of the Rockies Adventure Guides workshop or a classroom visit write or call:
Rocky Mountain National Park
Estes Park, CO 80517
For access to a new site about Environmental Education Program try: Heart of the Rockies