Association is awarded a National Park Foundation "America's Best Ideas" Grant
On April 9, 2012, the National Park Foundation, through the generous support of L.L. Bean, DISNEY, the Anschutz Foundation, the Ahmanson Foundation and the National Park Foundation, awarded $15,000 to the association for a project titled: Breaking New Paths: Engaging Youth in El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail. The project will accomplish multiple goals with the help of three 7th grade classrooms from school districts across Texas.
Initially, the project will take off by incorporating the help of a teacher from each of the school districts. The participating teachers will work together over the summer of 2012 to craft curriculum about the trail that is appropriate for 7th grade classrooms. The teachers will work in conjunction with the association, National Park Service, and Region 7 Education Service Center to ensure that all materials developed are accurate and in accordance with educational standards.
Once the new school year begins in the fall of 2012, the curriculum will be presented to each of the classrooms and the path to interactive learning will begin. In addition to learning about the history of the trail, students will engage in a stewardship project at a site near their community along the trail. It is envisioned that this will lead to an on-going awareness and caring for the trail that will enable it to be cared for long into the future. Finally, the students will prepare a ten minute video presentation and participate in the third annual Region 7 Education Service Center videoconference on El Camino Real in order to share what they have learned and experienced about the trail with other students, teachers, and parents.
More so, once the curriculum is finalized, it will be placed on the NPS, association, and Region 7 Service Center websites and distributed freely, so that any school taking part in the videoconference can learn about the trail and have the resources at their fingertips to do so. This in turn will enable countless 1000s of children to learn about and experience the trail across the state and over many years to come. We are excited about this endeavor and look forward to expanding it into Louisiana and beyond in the future!