Verizon helps turn science teachers into rangers

Nov 16, 2012
Photo by: Donated photo Pictured are teachers participating in a National Park Service workshop that took place this year.

Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the recipient of a $12,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation to empower teachers with science and technology. The program, based in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, delivers an array of education enrichment opportunities to teachers from East Tennessee and Western North Carolina who will use their knowledge to benefit local students as well.

“The Verizon Foundation’s generous support completely covers the funding request we received from the Park for this program for 2013,” said Friends of the Smokies’ President Jim Hart.

Next spring and summer, the grant will fund two teacher workshops focusing on the latest teaching methods, lesson plans adapted to curriculum changes and new science content, and current technology. Through Verizon’s support, 60 teachers will participate in the workshops at no cost.  The grant also provides bus transportation to enable these teachers to return to the national park with their students through the Parks as Classrooms program.

Additionally, two educators will have the unique opportunity to conduct hands-on scientific studies in Great Smoky Mountains National Park working alongside park staff, and to assist with summertime ranger education programs.  This initiative is called Teacher-Ranger-Teacher because participants pick up information and new ideas while performing ranger duties in the national park, which they take back to their classrooms and to other teachers.

“Verizon is committed to the communities we serve and supporting teachers’ access to resources they can integrate into their classroom curriculum which is why we’re proud to support the Friends of the Smokies,” said Julie Smith, vice president Verizon external Affairs. “ They’re doing great work to enable teachers hands-on access to bring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park into classrooms for Tennessee students.”

For information about the educational programs offered in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, visit


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