Many people may never have the chance to visit Yellowstone National Park in their lifetime. However, individuals, particularly students, are increasingly able to visit Yellowstone from afar through Distance Learning programs. Since 2011, Yellowstone has offered the opportunity for classrooms to have a park ranger visit them virtually through Skype or other video conference technology—and it has been a huge hit!
These free programs introduce Yellowstone to new audiences while using the park as a platform to teach curriculum-based content. Students learn about topics such as the Yellowstone Volcano, park ecology, wildlife, and history. They can also interview a ranger about their job.
Many teachers host the session in conjunction with the Expedition Yellowstone curriculum or integrate it into Yellowstone-related lessons in their own curriculum.
Here’s what a few teachers had to say about their classrooms’ experience:
“Thank you so much. Our students are bouncing off the walls and looking forward to learning more about Yellowstone’s animals and ecosystem. The presentation was absolutely brilliant.” – 7th Grade Teacher, Australia
“You did a great job, and the students are all excited—they are saying they are going home to tell their parents they want to go to Yellowstone.” – Elementary teacher, Texas
“Your love for Yellowstone was evident and greatly captured everyone’s attention. Your presentations were outstanding!” – 8th grade teacher, Wisconsin
The Skype with a Ranger program has been growing each year to meet demand from teachers who want to share the wonders of Yellowstone with their students, and help foster park preservation and stewardship. From October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2018, rangers conducted 1,480 programs with a total of 53,344 students from 49 states and 24 other countries.