National Parks Science Challenge

The National Parks Science Challenge project sought to expand where and when people learn over their lifetime by facilitating young adults’ access to urban national parks through a designed learning experience supported by mobile technologies. With support from the National Science Foundation, the Institute led the ‘science capital’ research component of the project, through deliberative focus groups with urban young adult groups to collectively reflect on the concerns, needs, and expectations of urban young people, to expose their personal narrative of science participation, as well as their interests on relevant scientific topics related to programming and National Parks. Through partnerships with the Park Youth Collaborative, the Bringing the Lessons Home Program at the Holocaust Museum, and Rock Creek Park Conservancy we collected data through surveys, participant-produced artifacts, and focus group discussions to better understand young adults’ attitudes towards and experiences with STEM, their experiences in and perceptions of national parks, and to solicit feedback on the design of a new learning tool to support young adult engagement and learning in national park spaces.

Project Team: Monae Verbeke Ph.D.  Elysa Corin Ph.D. Stacey Sheehan