“Public lands have tremendous potential to contribute to education and quality of life in our communities. If wecan get young people thinking about not only the future of their parks and forests but also the future of their local communities, that’s the beginning of lifelong learning—and it’s also cultivating stewardship.”
– Nora Mitchell, Conservation Study Institute
Place-based learning is an educational approach that uses all aspects of the local environment, including local cultural, historical, and sociopolitical situations and the natural and built environment, as the integrating context for learning. In its most developed forms, it includes a clear focus on learning through civic engagement and participation in service projects of obvious relevance to the local school and community.
Woodstock Union High School teachers began working with Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park's to develop its education program even before the park's doors officially opened in 1998. The partnership has continued to grow in both depth and breadth as the two institutions seek to use the park as an extension of the classroom. Working together, educators, park staff and local experts create authentic, standards-based experiences for students to gain a deeper understanding of the cultural, natural and historical resources of their community and discover the connections between classroom learning and real-world application.