Even as a School Principal for many, many years, I always agreed that “School is not the only place we learn!” Case in point: the National Park System encompasses: 60 US National Parks
87 US National Monuments
19 US National Preserves
51 US National Historic Parks
78 US National Historic Sites
1 US International Historic Site
4 US National Battlefield Parks
9 US National Military Parks
11 US National Battlefields
1 National Battlefield Site
29 National Memorials
18 National Recreation Areas
10 National Seashores
4 National Lakeshores
15 National Rivers
2 National Reserves
4 National Parkways
3 National Trails
11 other sites including the National Mall and National Capital Park
For a total of 417
This makes me happy when I think about paying taxes!! We are fortunate enough to have the Booker T. Washington National Monument in the town where we live in Virginia. I am a park volunteer and member of the Living History Guild commemorating Dr. Washington’s early life in our area (1856-1863) through living history reenactments.
“I was born a slave on a plantation in Franklin County, Virginia. I am not quite sure of the exact place or exact date of my birth, but at any rate I suspect I must have been born somewhere and at some time.”
Last Saturday, while volunteering in the Visitor’s Center, I was most impressed with a young student traveling in an RV with her family. She spent the entire day in exhibits, on site and reading about BTW and his life while in Virginia. While kids 5-13 fit the program best, we have many adults who ask for the booklets to extend their knowledge while visiting. We provided this visitor with a pencil and a booklet of activities specific to our park in the form of a scavenger hunt, that would help her focus her learning while in hot pursuit of her Junior Park Ranger badge. Her day’s learning covered reading, writing, mathematics, science, history, diversity, health and an understanding for human growth and understanding over time.
She did it! Once she turned in her answers and we reviewed her acquired knowledge, she was sworn in as a Junior Ranger and our park badge was added to her impressive vest. She will be quite weighted down with pride and badges once she returns home as her parents are assisting her learning by traveling America. The family stamped their National Passport booklet and were off and running.
If you are unable to travel, but still want to support the Park Service, you can download a booklet online and work from the comfort of home.
We waved goodbye as her family headed for Appomattox Courthouse and another engagement with our American life!