Date of Award

Fall 12-5-2017

Degree Type



Biological Sciences

Director of Thesis

Dr. John Grego

First Reader

Dr. Avni Gupta-Kagan


The purpose of this thesis project was to bridge the divide between public lands, such as parks, and the education system; national parks and monuments are great resources for education. In addition to promoting outside of the classroom education, this project explores different teaching methods and how changing pedagogical practice can help more students learn in the long term. In order to explore different methods of teaching, I created three different lesson plans that could be used, for example, in places like Congaree National Park, to bring education outside of the traditional school environment. These lesson plans are supplemental materials to a traditional learning environment, but provide a way for students who do not thrive under traditional methods to have a deeper understanding.

In addition, I brought my photography into the lessons as visual aids for learning, which is one of the ways of teaching as well. I have been active in photography for many years, but have had little use for my images of the natural world until this project. It was important for me to create different types of lessons to explore helping different types of learners, and incorporating photography in one lesson really helped this goal.

Finally, this project addresses the importance of national parks and their history to the United States, and how educating students in these environments may increase conservation efforts in the future along with helping create passion for the STEM fields and science education. It is important that young learners have a science education when young that way they don’t shy away from these fields when they are older and ready to make career decisions.

First Page


Last Page