Greening STEM Case Studies

The case studies you’ll see were part of a two-year grant program funded by the US Department of Education. The grants-supported partnerships between 21st Century Learning Centers and local National Park Service units deliver after-school and out-of-school STEM learning activities on campus and in the field. Learning objectives were aligned with the Greening STEM program model and included skills from the Next Generations Science Standards, the social-emotional competencies of the 21st Century Skills set, and cultural literacy.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Students investigate impacts of acid deposition and air pollution at Great Smoky Mountains National Park


The park staff, in conjunction with local teachers, designed the community-science projects to provide the park with long-term monitoring information. In this video, a National Park Service Ranger speaks about the value of hands-on engagement citizen science requires.

As part of the program’s STEM objectives students learned how to utilize various forms of technology to collect data while in the park. The projects included monitoring: water quality, lichens, salamanders, terrestrial invertebrates and conducting ozone bio-monitoring. Each data set was then entered into corresponding long-term monitoring databases housed on the Hands on the Land website.

Visual Aids

Saguaro National Monument

Students assist the park in finding five species of small carnivores not documented in ten years at Saguaro National Monument.


During the project, classes were divided into research teams and assigned a lost species. Students set cameras in the park and at school, to collect data that would help determine management strategies at the park. In this video, an NPS Ranger describes the history of community science at Saguaro national park.

Visual Aids

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