Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Service-Learning opportunities through Federal Agencies

Here is a sampling of some federal initiatives that have service-learning elements or are well-developed service-learning projects.  Links to the agency are included to help interested folks make contacts at both the federal and local levels.  Project people at local units of these agencies would be glad to hear from anyone in a school setting who would like explore partnership ideas.


Department of Agriculture

US Forest Service (USFS)

Here’s an example of a USDA Forest Service “More Kids in the Woods” project:



The USFS also has a program called “Passport in Time,” a volunteer archaeology and historic preservation program.  Here is the link:



Interior Department

The Interior Department houses the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Trail System (among other bureaus)

The National Park Service’s “Teaching with Historic Places” program provides a service-learning resource on its website.  Sites range from Andersonville and Bryce Canyon to Monmouth Cave and President Taft’s boyhood home.



In the spring semester of 2009, Harpers Ferry National Military Park partnered with Harpers Ferry Middle School, the Journey through Hallowed Ground Partnership, and the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation in a service-learning project that invited students to create “vodcasts” about John Brown’s raid.  The Park now includes the student-created materials in its interpretation of the events of October 1859.



The Park Service works to protect public lands through a teacher professional development program called “A Forest for Every Classroom.”  Find out more about the partners they work with and the content of the training at:



A replicable service-learning project that originated with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy is “A Trail to Every Classroom,” which is described here:



The National Trails System lists local contacts for every scenic and historic trail in the network:



In the summer of 2009 the Bureau of Land Management helped organize a Preserve America Youth Summit in Colorado, which engaged students in activities such as raising awareness of Colorado’s heritage sites, exploring how archaeology supports preservation, and promoting culturally-sensitive heritage tourism.  



National Wildlife Refuges have historic and cultural resources that can be preserved and interpreted by students.  One example is the Cathlapotle Plankhouse in Clark County, Washington, which is managed by a partnership among Portland State University, the Chinook Tribe, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.





Scott Richardson

K-12 Program Coordinator

Learn and Serve America

Corporation for National and Community Service

1201 New York Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20525






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About Me

The CalServe Network posts news and updates of interest to the service-learning field in California. News and updates are drawn from the CalServe List Serve and the National K-12 Service-Learning List Serve and various other sources.