National Parks Experience in Spring 2020

Just back from leading 8 RCS seniors on an incredible hiking/camping/exploring Spring Break trip to the Grand Canyon, science teacher Joe Sweeney’s National Parks Experience has begun planning for spring 2020. Based on student feedback, he’ll choose among 3 options:

  • Yosemite National Park 4-day backpacking trip. 11 students required.
  • Grand Canyon National Park 4-day backpacking trip. Minimum of 6 students; maximum of 8 students.
  • San Juan River, Utah, 5-day rafting trip. Minimum of 12 students; maximum of 20 students.

Cost for each is approximately $1800/student, not including airfare.

Contact Joe Sweeney,, for more info.

About National Parks Experience

The National Parks Experience provides a unique educational opportunity to high school students that exposes them to the natural world while teaching them history, science and outdoor skills.  Using one of our national parks, such as Grand Canyon, Yosemite or Virgin Island National Park, as the focus of the curriculum, students learn about geology, ecology, history and native cultures. Hiking and backpacking trips along the Appalachian Trail provide students with the opportunity to learn outdoor skills and physically prepare for their excursion in the national park. All the lessons, both on the trail and in the classroom, are brought together during the excursion to the national park. While in the national park, the geology, ecology and history lessons come to life. Students see and touch the different rock formations, identify native plants, watch wildlife and visit archaeological sites to learn more about the native people who once lived in these remarkable places.

The effect the National Parks Experience has on the students is life changing. For many students, this program provided their first exposure to hiking and camping or even their first trip away from their familiar surroundings. Conquering the physical demands of backpacking instills a sense of pride and improves the student’s self confidence. These young people gain the knowledge, confidence and desire to continue exploring nature. The National Parks Experience introduces student to the natural world and immerses them in the beauty and wonder of our national parks.