Kids in Parks encourages more opportunities for children to visit our TN State Parks and explore the outdoors. It provides support to eliminate barriers that children from underserved communities may face, such as transportation, supervision and/or supplies. We work with after school programs, childcare settings and summer camps to make immersive and educational field trips happen. We also support Junior Ranger programs that offer a longer and more ongoing experience in nature.
Based on a successful program by the National Park Foundation, which supports the National Park Service, the TSPC Field Trip Program gives children from diverse backgrounds an opportunity to get out of the classroom and learn about wildlife, the environment and Tennessee history through an immersive, hands-on experience opportunity at a Tennessee State Park. We invite educators that work with K-12 students to take a field trip to visit one of the 56 state parks across Tennessee (Fun fact: there is one within an hour of every Tennessee student!).
Whether students are learning about science, English, art, history or a variety of other subjects, Tennessee State Parks provide a unique opportunity to learn outside of the classroom. Field trips include an immersive activity and program that are tied to a specific lesson. Often these programs include hiking coupled with plant and wildlife education as well as education about conservation and the “leave no trace” philosophy. One of the core values that we include in all of our programs is the value and benefit of being in nature while teaching children to be the next great stewards of our state parks and natural areas.
If interested in a Field Trip, please complete this application.
This program offers children a summer camp experience that provides opportunities for exploring and learning about the natural world through an array of fun and creative activities at a state park. Sponsorships allow students to attend who might not otherwise be able to due to financial restrictions.
Virtual Junior Ranger Program
In response to COVID-19, the Tennessee State Parks Conservancy and Tennessee State Parks joined forces to bring an eight-week virtual camp to young people all over TN. The camp covered a new topic every week and had a lot of nature learning opportunities that could be applied in a State Park or to their neighborhood at home. We are planning on offering additional ongoing opportunities like this one—year-round Virtual Junior Ranger Program to families across Tennessee. We knew it was important to continue children’s learning, offer socialization with other Junior Rangers, and teach outdoor skills that last a lifetime. This program was so successful that we have continued it throughout the year.
We piloted this program in the Summer 2021 with the support of the Community Foundation of Middle TN and collaboration of Henry Horton State Park.This program invited the our youngest Tennesseans into our TN State Park for an immersive experience in nature. Three sessions were presented, covering water, soil and reducing waste. Every session related to how the children can be better stewards of our parks and natural areas. In efforts to encourage literacy, every child also received a nature themed book through our Parks for Reading program. With over 200 attending and a lot positive feedback, TN State Parks and TSPC are interested in expanding the program. We invite you to support this program too!