A Trail to Every Classroom
The Appalachian Trail (AT) is more than a dreamy, wish-list path.
The AT provides an education liberally steeped in both arcane and useful arts, such as: walking with scissors, sharing toys, learning to be self-sufficient and playing well with others.
I believe … there will come a day when honors are conferred upon thru-hikers, perhaps in return for teaching flatlanders what they’re missing by not hitting the trail.
The Appalachian Trail was a hitherto underappreciated path to education until 2006, when the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and the National Park Service (NPS) developed the Trail to Every Classroom (TTEC) program.
Simply put: TTEC brings lessons learned on the Trail to K-12 classrooms.
In grandparent-speak that translates to: “Go outside and play with your friends. It’ll do you good.”
In teacher-speak that translates to: “The Trail to Every Classroom (TTEC) program is a professional development program for K-12 teachers that provides educators with the tools and training for place-based education and service-learning on the Appalachian Trail (AT) … the program offers educators resources needed to engage their students in their local community, while growing academically and professionally.” And, “This method of teaching encourages students to solve local community problems while offering a hands-on learning experience. Studies have shown that this method can increase student achievement, community involvement, and environmental responsibility.”
TTEC principles help teachers:
- Engage youth in volunteer activities
- Encouraging a love of learning
- Promote healthy lifestyles
- Create a conservation ethic
- Form a respect for the AT.
One thing is for certain: there’s a lot to learn — and a lot to teach — about the Appalachian Trail.
We commend ATC, NPS and all those who teach the Trail to Every Classroom program to learners everywhere. It’ll do them good.