Adventures Of A Teacher-Ranger
Counting osprey chicks, saving diamondback terrapins and sweeping for insects are all in a day’s work and adventure for Nena Shaheed. Shaheed has been keeping busy at Gateway National Recreation Area since she started work on June 23, as part of the National Park Service’s Teacher-Ranger-Teacher program.
Shaheed is no stranger to the program. In the summer of 2009, she donned a ranger flat hat at Acadia National Park in Maine.
“Acadia and Gateway are very similar in the fact that they are located along the eastern seaboard of the United States and protect a mosaic of freshwater, estuarine and marine resources,” Shaheed observed. “This program has taught me about plants, wildlife and their natural habitats and what we can all do to protect their survival.”
The Teacher-Ranger-Teacher program provides opportunities for teachers to connect to the resources in a national park. The program is geared for teachers from schools with a high percentage of students from low-income families.
During the school year, Teacher Rangers develop and present curriculum based programs to their students based on their summer experience at the park. In April, during National Park Week, Teacher Rangers wear their NPS uniforms to school, share their park stories and teach about our nation’s natural and cultural treasures.
The program began in 2003 in Colorado and became a nation-wide program in 2007.