On March 1, 1872, Congress established Yellowstone National Park in Montana and Wyoming as a public park for the benefit and enjoyment of the American people. It was placed under exclusive control of the Secretary of State of the Interior. The founding of Yellowstone National Park began a worldwide national park movement. Today more than 100 nations contain some 1,200 national parks or equivalent preserves.
In the years following the establishment of Yellowstone, the United States authorized additional national parks and monuments, many of them carved from the federal lands of the West. These, also, were administered by the Department of the Interior, while other monuments and national and historic areas were administered by the War Department and the Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture.
Upon learning about these national treasures, we decided to create our very own using a few simple materials. Students were involved in each step of the process and enjoyed creating the various exhibits they would later visit during our “hike” through.
Each exhibit featured a different landmark within the park. These included Huntley Lake, Huntley Flats (an animal reservation), Huntley Peak, Huntley Bear Caves, and the Huntley Picnic Area.
With their hiking sticks, your little ones practiced lining up in a straight line, following directions, and using their large motor skills to visit each landmark. From one to the other, they learned about the specifics of each feature, and were given free rein to interact with it.
Environmental education is important in the preschool classroom. For one, it instills passion for the environment. Secondly, it encourages children to form sustainable habits. Thirdly, it raises eco-friendly consumers. Lastly, it trains the next generation of environmental advocates.