A Trail to Every Classroom

Published Jan 24, 2013

AT in Damascus, VA

The Appalachian Trail is the path to education. ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

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.

Click Here for Trail to Every Classroom Information

Teachers: Click Here for TTEC Workshop Training in Your Area

About the Author Robert Sutherland:
Robert Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life. Robert has two adult daughters and six grandchildren.
Related Articles

Published Jan 24, 2013.

Published Feb 18, 2015. Interested in the 2015 2015 Wilderness Skills Institute training held in May at the Cradle of Forestry in NC? Apply by February 25th or soon afterward.

Do you remember attending any of these 2013 Appalachian Trail events? Many of made lifelong friends at them.