Defend Your National Park

Defend Your National Park

Can more than 281 million visitors be wrong? Is the United States National Park Service “America’s best idea” as one person noted? And if so, then why are national parks threatened each year through budget cuts?

  • 1.

    Less money was given to the National Parks Service this year than last year. Can we afford to get rid of one of our 58 parks? Does each park have something unique to offer visitors?

  • 2.

    Pick a park to research in depth. Find out how it became a park. Study the flora and fauna found in the park. Look at photographs of the park. Read about visitors’ experiences in the park.

  • 3.

    Organize your research. Decide upon a visual expression to represent your argument. It could be the giant Sequoias of Yosemite, the geyser fields of Yellowstone, the pink flamingos of the Everglades or the twisted Yuccas of Joshua Tree.

  • 4.

    Create a tri-a-rama to illustrate your perspective. Open a recycled file folder and cut it into a square with Crayola® Pointed Tip Scissors. Save the remaining piece of file folder for later use.

  • 5.

    Fold the square into a triangle and then fold it the other direction to make another triangle. Open the file folder and cut along any one of the new folds from the edge of the square into the center. Slide one of the cut sides under the other side to create the floor of the three-sided exhibit.

  • 6.

    Flatten out the tri-a-rama to draw the scene using Crayola® Color Sticks™ Colored Pencils. Use the edges of the Color Sticks™ to form lines and the tops and sides of the sticks for background color.

  • 7.

    To add dimension to the display cut out shapes from the floor of the tri-a-rama and bend up.

  • 8.

    Secure the two pieces of the tri-a-rama’s floor with Crayola® No-Run School Glue once you are happy with your illustration. Add collage or natural materials to the drawing for a more realistic feel to the display.

  • 9.

    Cut a small rectangle from the leftover piece of folder. Fold it in half lengthwise and write the park’s name on one side. Glue the other side to the bottom of the tri-a-rama.


  • Students research America’s National Park Service.
  • Students gather in-depth information about one park.
  • Students identify unique aspects of their chosen park and present their arguments both visually and orally.


  • Watch parts of Ken Burn’s documentary “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” for an overview and a taste of some of the challenges to the parks.
  • Climate change, pollution, what else threatens the parks? What is being done about these hazards?
  • Canvas the class to learn which parks students have visited. Mark responses on a classroom map. Assign a creative writing lesson about their memories of those trips.