“ The significance of the Appalachian Trail is not its length (2, 184+ miles), but its story of civic engagement in preserving a recreational, natural, cultural, spiritual, and now, educational, resource for challenges and dreams,” states Rita Hennessy with the National Park Service.
Janis Brannon, TTEC alumnus shares, “The TTEC program has provided Summit Charter School (Cashiers, NC) with resources need to integrate environmental education, local history, and service learning into our curriculum.”
According to Lauren Bennett, 2007 TTEC alumnus, “This program inspired and equipped me to integrate place-based education into my curriculum”.
“I think one of the greatest feelings is seeing my student hike and truly enjoy nature. They point out so many new and different things; leaf shapes, colors, animal burrows, nest, bird calls, buds on branches, back bug eggs, etc. It is hard to do long hikes with them because they are observing so many wonderful things. This is so different from the first few years when they seemed to think the only purpose of a hike was to see who could hike the fastest!” shared Marsha LaFontaine.
Beth Poteat explains the sense of renewal and fellowship with peers, “Trail to Every Classroom was a great opportunity to meet and share experiences with teachers in other subject areas from all over the country while strengthening one’s own classroom practices.”
Likewise, Rachael Kerby, expresses a new perspective in her teaching, “TTEC is a program that draws you into the natural world through the eyes of a child. It exposed me to different people and their passions for nature and the A.T. as well as introduced me to ways to draw students into the outdoors.”
“Enlisting the support of Nantahala Hiking Club members and parent volunteers broadens the school curriculum to a whole community level”, sites Mary Bennett, ATC Community Ambassador to Franklin, NC.
The value of the program is perhaps best expressed by TTEC 2010 alumnus, Charlene Ward, “The TTEC program has helped renew my appreciation of the beautiful area we live in. It has reminded me of many of my favorite childhood memories and experiences I had learning about nature. It also increased my desire to learn more about the local history of the people and places in our community. My new knowledge about service learning and place-based education allows me to take advantage of many teachable moments on our beautiful campus. I would recommend the program to any educator or professional that is interested in teaching future generation the importance of caring for our environment and helping others.”