New PI-CASC Partnerships with Parks For Every Classroom Pilot Program
The Parks in Every Classroom (PEC) program has been supporting educators from schools, parks, and local organizations in the Northeast since 2011 to share expertise and resources, generate new ideas, and plan together to make a direct impact in their communities. This year is the program’s first time expanding out to a national scope. In light of this opportunity, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park Education Specialist Jody Anastasio successfully collaborated on a proposal with teachers from the Ke Kula ʻAmakihi Community-Based Education program and several PI CASC staff who all serve as a knowledge base for climate education and connections to community. See the whole team below.
The team is lucky to be working with the unique landscapes of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes and the vibrant communities and students that surround it. Ke Kula ʻAmakihi is an innovative distance learning program that utilizes digital and printed material, project-based learning, and weekly collaborative group learning outdoors. PI CASC Staff have been engaged as community partners in this effort due to the long-term relationships built in climate adaptation on Hawai’i Island through the Manager Climate Corps Program. Additionally, PI CASC Curriculum Development Interns Emily Sesno and Cherryle Hue bring many valuable climate education tools, resources, and networks to the team.
This pilot program is geared to explore what students and families need to learn about climate change and how it affects Hawaiʻi. The final output is the co-creation of professional development workshops for climate change education with local teachers and community partners. Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park is one of eight parks chosen to be part of the national pilot of the Park for Every Classroom (PEC) program. The advantage of the PEC model is that schools, park staff, and local organizations can build relationships that enhance the sharing of resources and knowledge to tackle specific issues facing a community.
So far, the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park PEC team has participated in a couple events with the pilot program. In March, the team presented at a Pecha Kucha virtual gathering with the other park staff representatives to learn a little about each other’s places and approaches. In April, Jody Anastasio represented the team at a three day workshop in Fort Collins, CO. In that meeting, National Park Service PEC Leads discussed ideas and resources, identified concepts and strategies, and generated plans for partnership engagement. Over this summer, the PEC program will be facilitating monthly virtual calls for the PEC pilot network leading up to the larger workshop in the Great Smoky Mountains Workshop in August with project teams. PI CASC is excited for this new partnership and for the opportunity to build upon local climate education efforts.