PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs youth reporters go outside, find stories in their National Parks

August 25, 2016 at 10:31 AM EDT

Washington, D.C. (August 25, 2016) PBS NewsHour’s STEM Student Reporting Labs program will train high school students in video journalism and send them into their local national parks to produce unique stories from America’s canyons, craters and mountain peaks. The initiative is funded by the National Science Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The National Park Service centennial and the goal of getting students outside inspired this year’s STEM Student Reporting Labs theme. “Earlier this year we traveled out into the wilderness with a busload of student reporters,” said SRL STEM Lead Producer Matthew Ehrichs. “We could see the students connecting to the Earth,  deepening their connection with their reporting and visual storytelling.”

Youth reporters from Richwood, West Virginia interview Trevor, a high school forestry student who understands the importance of diversifying energy resources and revenue, but also has a deep appreciation of coal. Photo by Thaisi Da Silva

Youth reporters from Richwood, West Virginia interview Trevor, a high school forestry student who understands the importance of diversifying energy resources and revenue, but also has a deep appreciation of coal. Photo by Thaisi Da Silva

Selected schools will have access to a journalism and digital media literacy curriculum augmented with a STEM literacy focus, a mentor from a local PBS affiliate, access to a STEM practitioner in a field related to their story, professional development for educators and support from the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs team.

“National parks are some of the most amazing classrooms in the world,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “They bring to life the stories of the people, places, and events that have shaped our country. Programs such as this encourage exploration and inspire lifelong connections to the natural and cultural treasures found in national parks.”

The following schools will participate in this STEM reporting initiative:

Black River Falls High School (Wisconsin) – Isle Royale National Park
Bozeman High School (Montana) – Glacier National Park
Central Hardin High School (Kentucky) – Mammoth Cave National Park
Dalton Middle School (Georgia) – Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Etiwanda High School (California) – Channel Islands
Health and Science School (Oregon) – Crater Lake
Hughes STEM High School (Ohio) – Cuyahoga National Park
John F. Kennedy High School (Maryland) – Shenandoah National Park
Judge Memorial Catholic High School (Utah) – Zion National Park
Kauai High School (Hawaii) – Haleakalā National Park
Legacy Charter School (South Carolina) – Congaree National Park
Maui Waena Intermediate School (Hawaii) – Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Media Enterprise Alliance (California) – Yosemite National Park
Penn High School (Indiana) – Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
Pleasure Ridge Park High School (Kentucky) – Mammoth Cave National Park
Royal Oak High School (Michigan) – Isle Royale National Park
Trumbull Career & Technical Center (Ohio) – Cuyahoga National Park
Turtle Mountain Community High School (North Dakota) – Badlands National Park
Vista PEAK Preparatory (Colorado) – Rocky Mountain National Park
Wauwatosa West High School (Wisconsin) – Isle Royale National Park
Woodrow Wilson High School (Washington, D.C.) – Shenandoah National Park

The video stories will be published on the PBS NewsHour’s website and transformed into educational resources for PBS LearningMedia. The program offers schools and young people the opportunity to have their stories air on the NewsHour broadcast, seen by over a million people each night. New Knowledge Organization Ltd. (NewKnowledge) will lead an evaluation of the STEM SRL program.

Local PBS stations involved with the initiative include:
CET, Detroit Public Television, Georgia Public Broadcasting, Kentucky Educational Television, KQED, Maryland Public Television, Milwaukee Public Television, MontanaPBS, Oregon Public Broadcasting, PBS Hawaii, PBS SoCal, Prairie Public Broadcasting, Rocky Mountain PBS, South Carolina ETV, Utah Education Network, Western Reserve Public Media, WHUT and Wisconsin Public Television.

Media Contact
Thaisi Da Silva, Director, PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs: tdasilva@newshour.org

NSF Primary Investigator
Leah Clapman, Managing Editor, PBS NewsHour Education: lclapman@newshour.org

NSF Senior Personnel
Thaisi Da Silva, Director of PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs, PBS NewsHour
Matthew Ehrichs, SRL STEM Lead Producer, PBS NewsHour

About Student Reporting Labs
Student Reporting Labs connect middle and high school students with public media stations to produce original news reports that explore how critical national issues impact local communities. Visit PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.                  

About the National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.

About the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen is public media’s long-term commitment to supporting community-based solutions to help keep youth on the track to a high school diploma and beyond. 

About NewKnowledge
NewKnowledge Organization Ltd. is a nonprofit research institute founded to pursue a deep understanding of how people engage with society’s grand challenges.

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