Kids in Parks launches Citizen Science TRACK Trail

They aren’t wearing white lab coats, but there are already young scientists collecting data at Front Lake at Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site in Flat Rock, North Carolina.

The Kids in Parks program recently opened its first Citizen Science TRACK Trail designed to engage kids in learning and caring for the park’s ecosystem while helping staff researchers and natural resource managers.

Citizen Science is a new approach to data collection that enlists the public’s help in making observations and taking readings for studies and research. With the new trail, children and families can get in on the action. Kids follow a brochure to locate marked stations around the lake, where they perform observations and experiments such as taking air and water temperature readings and using tools to measure the pH of the lake.

In addition to helping researchers, the children learn new skills related to environmental science, connecting the dots between outdoor adventures and protecting natural resources.

“We’re extremely excited to have the Kids in Parks program’s first Citizen Science-based TRACK Trail here at Carl Sandburg,” said Sarah Perschall, chief of Visitor Services at Carl Sandburg. Park staff and the Kids in Parks team collaborated to create the site-specific brochure and experiment stations.

“Over the past six years, we have created a network of TRACK Trails designed to get kids and families unplugged, outdoors and reconnected to our parks,” said Jason Urroz, director of Kids in Parks. “I think our Citizen Science TRACK Trails can only add to that connection. And, who knows? Maybe some of them will become scientists, or rangers, or ranger scientists.”

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