Partners in the Parks
Partners in the Parks is an outdoor experiential learning program in cooperation with the National Collegiate Honors Council. In 2012 there will be nine projects at national parks across the country offering unique opportunities for collegiate honors students and faculty to visit areas of the American landscape noted for their beauty, significance and lasting value.
Seminars led by university faculty and park personnel will include historical, scientific, cultural, and other important areas unique to a given park. Projects will also take advantage of exciting recreational opportunities in the parks to broaden participant's understanding of the overall value of national parks to our country and its citizens.
One honors student participated in the program in Acadia National Park in the summer of 2012, and two honors students participated in the program in Olympic National Park in the summer of 2011! Check out his beautiful photos!
Jamie Nash, Honors Student- Participant in Partners in the Parks, Acadia National Park, 2012
"I attended the Acadia National Park Program in Maine, from August 4th through the 10th. The program included everything from philosophy lessons regarding environmental ethics to catching fish in an estuary for a study on species diversity. We read Thoreau's "Walking" and connected with nature through hikes, occasional swimming in the frigid Maine waters and creating art on the beach using the works of Andy Goldsworthy as a guide. A schooner cruise in nearby Bar Harbor took us through the many islands off the coast, where we saw ospreys, gulls and even a harbor seal. Star gazing in a place with such little light pollution is mind-blowing- the Milky Way was clearly visible and we counted at least five shooting stars. On one of the days, we volunteered with Friends of Acadia to help maintain one of John D. Rockefeller's famed carriage roads within the park. We also learned about geology through our hike to the iconic Bubble Rock, a glacial erratic placed precariously atop one of Acadia's peaks. To add to the lesson, we stopped at the only fjord in North America, conveniently located in Acadia!
My favorite experience of the entire trip was our hike up Cadillac Mountain to see the sunrise. The top of the mountain is the very first place, on the entire continent, that one can see the sunrise. We got up early, at 3:00 am to be exact, and made the nearly two and a half hour hike up the mountain. It was brutal, and we almost missed the sunrise, but the view from the top was worth the hustle. We sat down at the peak just as the sun poked through the fog. The camaraderie we formed throughout the week was incredible, and by the time we all parted ways on the last day, we all knew we'd made some solid friends in just a week. We cooked meals together in groups, which took a ridiculous amount of patience, ingenuity and cooperation. We shared once-in-a-lifetime experiences with each other and had deep conversations about our hopes and fears for the future. Most of all we bonded through our lack of showering and dwindling supply of clean clothes throughout the trip. I would definitely recommend Partners in the Parks to anyone with a sense of adventure and a willingness to learn."