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Green Hearts Growing in National Parks

In Search of Amazing Creatures and Climate Change Features in Northern National Parks… Growing Green Hearts is Hitting the Road!


July 16th through August 1st of 2017, Growing Green Hearts will hit the road passing though 5 states, hiking natural spaces, and visiting 3 major national parks: Olympic, North Cascades, and Glacier. From haystack rocks and tide pools of the Pacific we’ll follow “the High Line,” also known as highway 2, near the Canadian-U.S. border, over mountains to prairies of the Midwest.  While exploring cultural sites, paleontology digs, wildlife adventures, and old-fashioned hiking trails— examples of climate resiliency and green hearts from a wide variety of characters and habitats will be shared.

Along with the lens of an environmental scientist, two children will be aboard for the journey—so we’ll dig into a lot of kid questions, too.  You and your students/children can follow the stories and submit your own questions on facebook (Growing Green Hearts) and Twitter (@GrowGreenHearts).  From the Pacific Coast back to the Midwest, we can’t wait to share climate and nature play stories of the creatures we meet and the people we greet along the way.


We’ll be camping, sometimes in the back country- even on the beach.  We’ll share nature play basics like preparing for the weather and setting up camp.  Also, more complex ideas like creature ID and sustainability.  Pictures and quotes about interconnectedness of living things, water, air, and land will be posted on social media daily.  What will the park rangers have to say about climate change?  How are people playing and impacting nature in positive ways?  What cultural stories and traditions will we hear about?  Adventure with us when you can!


Local adventures are great too.  Exploring map skills with young ones is a fun way to plan a road trip…a bike ride to the park… or just a walk around your neighborhood.  Here are some questions kids have asked about the Green Hearts Growing in National Parks trip that’s happening in July 2017.  These same 4 basic questions get kids into “big picture thinking” and interconnectedness of systems– no matter which type of trip you take!

Q: What direction will you be travelling?

A: After flying into Seattle, our minivan will travel mainly west to the Pacific Coast then generally east from there to Minnesota. In someplaces the road is windy because of mountains, hills, valleys, and rivers. In some places we’ll go up and other places we’ll go down. “North” and “up” are two different things, aren’t they! (Educator’s note: Try different style maps such as a paper road atlas, geologic contour map, newspaper weather map, or Google map)

Q: What animals will you see? and why do they live there?

A: We hope to see orca whales, Roosevelt elk, bears, sea anemones, salmon, moose, marmot, pronghorn, banana slugs, and mountain goats.  Animals prefer to live in the habitat that is appropriate for them. Habitat means an animal’s natural home; a place with land, air, water, plants and animals all depend on one another. A big horn sheep’s mountain habitat is very different from a starfish’s tidepool habitat which is very different from a monarch butterfly’s prairie habitat. Different maps show habitats differently. State parks, national parks, scenic natural areas, protected forests and more work to preserve natural habitats.

Q: How long will it take?

A: We’ll have about 2 weeks of travel with 3-4 days in 3 national parks and driving days inbetween.


Play. Learn. Love.

July 2017

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