As we have shared, the idea of STEAM in the PARK has always been something that we have wanted to do. But just how did it start? Well it began on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC on January 16, 2020. We had been invited to come and film the MLK Jr. Celebration with students from the DC area by our dear friend, Jen Rudnick. She is an outstanding park ranger at the National Mall and Memorial Parks. After the event we were talking about things and somehow the subject came up about hosting an event in the summer where educators from around the country would come for professional development. We even came up with the name, STEAM in the PARK. That conversation lasted about 30 minutes and then we headed home.
Next day, we phoned our friend, Susan Bowdoin and shared what had transpired. She was immediately intrigued and we began working on the details. Several ZOOM calls between Steve, Jen, Susan, and myself were scheduled and we were off to the races. We decided to intentionally invite educators from around the country to form this first STEAM in the PARK group. We created a FB page, got to know everyone, planned, dreamed, and more. Then Covid 19! Those two words scared us but we didn't stop planning and meeting with the team.
On May 22, 2022, we finally pulled the plug on the event (which was scheduled for June 19-22, 2022.) We were all sad but more worried about what Covid was doing to our friends and families. We put STEAM in the PARK on the back burner, for a while. Fast forward to January 2021. We visited Acadia National Park to film one of our "National Parks Expedition Challenges". We met Ranger Kate and just like with Ranger Jen, we connected immediately. I started talking about STEAM in the PARK again with Steve and Susan. By the end of January, we had gotten permission from Acadia National Park to hold a summer retreat so we began planning again. This time- we were determined. We reached out on social media to form a new team of STEAM in the PARK campers who would travel to the Schoodic Institute, located at Acadia National Park, to solve the elusive and intrusive green crab problem.
By March 1st- we had our team assembled, began ZOOMing every month and looking forward to STEAM in the PARK: Acadia. Well this time it worked and on July 16th, 32 educators from 15 states joined us for a magical 4 days. We learned so much and basically built the plane while we were flying it. After returning home, we knew that this was exactly how we should be spending our summers so we rested for a few days and began planning for STEAM in the PARK 2022.
While we are on the road this summer, we will be sharing daily updates within the community and on social media. Please follow us at #STEAMinthePARK to learn more.