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America's Largest Classroom

What We Learn from Our National Parks

Jessica L. Thompson, Ana K. Houseal, Abigail M. Cook (Other primary creator), Milton Chen (Foreword by)


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Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (4/21/2020)


Over the past 100 years, visitor learning at America’s national parks has grown and evolved. Today, there are over 400 National Park Service (NPS) sites, representing over eighty million acres. Sites exist in every US state and territory and are located on land, at sea, in remote areas, and in major urban centers. Every year, more than 300 million people visit national parks, and several million of them are children engaged in one of many educational programs hosted by the NPS.

America’s Largest Classrooms offers insight and practical advice for improving educational outreach at national parks as well as suggestions for classroom educators on how to meaningfully incorporate parks into their curricula. Via a wide collection of case studies—ranging from addressing inclusivity at parks and public lands to teaching about science and social issues—this book illustrates innovations and solutions that will be of interest to nature interpreters, outdoor educators, and policy makers, as well as professors in the sciences writ large.

University of California Press, 9780520340640, 310pp.

Publication Date: April 21, 2020

About the Author

Jessica L. Thompson is Associate Professor in the College of Business at Northern Michigan University. 

Ana K. Houseal is Associate Professor and Science Outreach Educator in the Science and Mathematics Teaching Center at the University of Wyoming.