Project goal: Engage visitors through short, thought-provoking educational activities that stoke deeper understanding of and appreciation for the natural world.

Why this work matters: You’ve probably heard of pop-up restaurants, pop-up shops and pop-up art shows … but what about pop-up education?

Visitor education is an essential element of park management. Effective park-based education not only helps people learn about and develop an appreciation for the natural world, but it also communicates key information about staying safe and protecting plants, animals and landscapes.

A new approach to visitor education is emerging — or, more appropriately, popping up — in parks across the country: impromptu, interactive experiences. Park-based “pop-up” educational programs offer short bursts of learning that encourage people to pause and take a deeper look at their surroundings. At Grand Canyon National Park, for example, rangers placed a typewriter at a scenic overlook and invited hikers to share their thoughts, resulting in dozens of messages, poems and short “love letters” to the park.

As one of the nation’s most popular parks, Yosemite needs to be able to provide modern, effective visitor education. This grant allows Yosemite rangers to stretch their creative muscles as they implement as many as 10 pop-up educational programs designed to spark conversation and curiosity while prompting people to think more deeply about their experience in the park.

How your support helps: Your gifts will provide critical funding so park rangers can dedicate time and materials to dreaming up, developing and delivering innovative programming to inspire and educate Yosemite visitors of all ages. Keep an eye out for pop-up programs on your next visit!

Partnering with Yosemite National Park.

Bob Loudon

Branch Chief of Field Interpretation, Yosemite National Park

Project Notes

"Throughout the nation, public land agencies and museums are making a much-needed shift in how we educate the public. The new model, Audience Centered Experience, reflects our changing demographics and changing audiences as well as the shift that has come with 21st-century technology."