Part 1: Education in the Parks Series
In a recent interview, Vermont State Parks Conservation Education Coordinator, Rebecca Roy, articulated the importance of conservation education and the role our state parks and their staff play in inspiring stewardship of natural places.
Why is conservation education important?
Research shows that people who enjoyed meaningful experiences in the outdoors as children are able to think critically and act responsibly on behalf of the ecological, social, and economic values of natural resources and natural places as adults. To foster a future where we still enjoy wild places, hear the songs of Loons at night, view consecutive rows of forested hills from the top of a fire tower, or wade through the cold water of wild rivers—we need to inspire people to care about these places. Conservation education provides meaningful encounters with natural and cultural resources and people, it encourages the passion to value and protect these places.
"To foster a future where we still enjoy wild places, hear the songs of Loons at night, view consecutive rows of forested hills from the top of a fire tower, or wade through the cold water of wild rivers—we need to inspire people to care about these places."
What role does education play in Vermont’s state parks?
Education and interpretation are key pieces of the VSP mission (paraphrased): “To conserve and interpret on behalf of the people of Vermont their natural, cultural, historic, and scenic heritage, and while so doing, to provide appropriate recreational opportunities.” We tell the stories of the natural and cultural resources and histories of the most special places in Vermont. Every Vermont state park is unique and is protected for it’s own special features. We seek to connect park visitors to these places and resources through meaningful experiences. Many of these experiences are provided through interactions with our staff, tens of thousands of valuable educational opportunities happen every season.
To learn more about VSP's educational programming visit their website, follow them on Facebook, or head out into the state park closest to you.