Discover the Power of Parks

By Kate Banyas, Education Coordinator for the SCA NH Conservation Corps

New Hampshire State Parks has so much to offer our visitors- from the cultural heritage sites, breathtaking views, lake-side beaches, and an endless list of outdoor recreational activities! But did you know that New Hampshire State Parks also offers educational programs? Discover the Power of Parks is series of hands-on and interactive programs that aim to educate park visitors on various topics in outdoor recreation, cultural history, and the natural world.

Throughout the summer and fall, a group of passionate and inspired Interpretive Rangers will present informative and entertaining programs for children, families, and adults. In a partnership with the Student Conservation Association (SCA), AmeriCorps, NH State Parks, and Eversource Energy, the Interpretive Rangers will be around offering programming in various regions of New Hampshire.

The Great North Woods

Come visit Interpretive Ranger Andrew while you visit the Great North Woods- known to many as “moose country”! Discover the Power of Parks programs will be offered at Lake Umbagog State Park, Mollidgewock State Park, and at the Androscoggin Wayside. Learn more about the local wildlife residents of this region, such as Black Bears, Beavers, Bald Eagles, Osprey, Loons, and of course… Moose! Great North Woods programs will be taking place in July and August.

Umbagog Lake State Park – Photo by Andrew Kniska, Interpretive Ranger

The White Mountains

You’ll be able to find Interpretive Rangers Liz and Yasmine all over the many “must see” locations at Franconia Notch State Park. Walk among the wildflowers with us at the summit of Cannon Mountain, dive into the fascinating geological history of this incredible landscape and learn about how you can hike safely in the White Mountains. If you are camping at Lafayette Campground, check out the Hiker Cabin, and also be sure to wind down at Liz and Yasmine’s campfire programs. Programs at Franconia Notch State Park will be offered now through mid-October.

Cross over the famous Kancamagus Highway to Echo Lake State Park to enjoy a day at the beach in one of the best swimming areas in the state. Check out programs that Interpretive Ranger Kendra will be offering to visitors- from nature scavenger hunts, learning about aquatic wildlife, and playing a game of Bigfoot Bingo! Programs at Echo Lake are offered in July and August.

The View from the Cannon Mt. Tram, Franconia Notch State Park – Photo by Liz Hoffman, SCA Interpretive Ranger

The Lakes Region

On the eastern side of the Lakes Region, you can take in the one-of-a-kind views of Mt. Chocorua at White Lake State Park. Interpretive Ranger Kendra has fun games and activities for the whole family to enjoy. Learn some basic orienteering skills, primitive fire building, and outdoor survival skills! Kendra also is excited to share her love of New Hampshire wildlife and plants with park visitors and will be providing programs from now till mid-October.

Heading to Lake Winnipesaukee? On the southern shores of the largest lake in New Hampshire you can join Interpretive Ranger Mitchell at Ellacoya State Park. Whether you are camping in your RV or just visiting for the day, take some time to learn about the indigenous history of Lake Winnipesauke, and how we can protect our lakes from invasive species. Programs at Ellacoya are only offered in July and August, so make sure to add this park to your summer bucket list!

Central New Hampshire

The western-central region of New Hampshire has some of the state’s best hidden gems! Visit Interpretive Ranger Carolyn at Pillsbury State Park for a true wilderness camping experience. Join Carolyn for an owl-prowl, legends and stories around the campfire, and searching for creatures that live in the pond.

From Pillsbury State Park, head north to Lake Sunapee State Park. Interpretive Ranger Carolyn will meet you at the beach with fun activities about wildlife, lake ecology, and the history of Lake Sunapee.

Pillsbury and Lake Sunapee programs will be offered in July and August so take advantage of these fun opportunities while you can!

Monadnock Region

Planning to hike one of the most popular mountains in the Northeast? You wont regret taking some time to enjoy programs that Interpretive Ranger Kyle has to offer! Meet Kyle at the summit of Monadnock for a summit tour while you take in the views. Before you hike, visit him at the visitor center to learn more about wildlife, preserving our parks, and the history of Monadnock.

Camping at Gilson Pond after a long day on the mountain? Wind down with some evening programs with Interpretive Rangers Kyle and Carolyn. They will be sharing stories around the fire, showing you stars and constellations, and exploring the creatures of the night!

Do you want that mountain experience without the hours of hiking? Then Miller State Park should be added to your itinerary! You can drive to the summit of Pack Monadnock to take in the breathtaking views, visit the fire tower, and observe one of the most popular sites in New Hampshire to observe the hawk fall migration. Interpretive Ranger Carolyn will meet you at the top with her binoculars at the ready!

Programs in the Monadnock region will be offered now till Mid-October.

Interpretive Ranger Kyle at the Monadnock Visitor Center

Merrimack Valley

Southern New Hampshire may be the most populated area of the state, but that doesn’t mean you can’t “get away from it all” and enjoy nature! At Bear Brook State Park, you are emersed in nature. Interpretive Ranger Mitchell will tell you all about biking and hiking the trails, exploring the wildlife of Bear Brook, and sharing the history of the area at the Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C.) Museum, as well as the Old Allenstown Meetinghouse.

There is something truly magical about Pawtuckaway State Park– you just have to see it for yourself! Interpretive Ranger Brittany will teach you about the plants and animals of New Hampshire, the power of pollinators, and will lead hikes and nature walks around the park. You can also catch some fish on the shores of Pawtuckaway Lake, Brittany will meet you there with all the gear at her fishing programs.

Programs in the Merrimack Valley region will be offered now through mid-October.

Seacoast

While there are only 13 miles of ocean coastline in New Hampshire, there is a lot to explore! Take a break from the hustle-bustle of Hampton Beach State Park, and head north a ways to Wallis Sands State Park, and Rye Harbor State Park. There you will meet Interpretive Ranger Brittany who will share the history of the Isle of Shoals, the creatures of the tide pools, and spectacular shorebirds. Be sure to dive into these activities while programs are offered from now till the end of August.

The view from Rye Harbor State Park – Photo by Brittany Hemphill, SCA Interpretive Ranger

With so many fun programs being offered at our parks, you’ll want to keep coming back for more! Take part in the Discover the Power of Parks Quest! If you attend 5 of the Discover the Power of the Parks Programs, you are eligible to receive a patch to show off your passion for learning about the parks!

Visit our website to learn more about the Discover the Power of Parks programs. You can also follow the links connected to each region mentioned above to take a look at the monthly schedule of programs at each park. These programs are offered free to our guests with paid park admission. We encourage you to take the opportunity to try one (or many!) of these programs when you camp, swim, or hike at a New Hampshire State Park this season. Join us to enhance your New Hampshire experience, fall in deeper in love with State Parks, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Where are you most excited to Discover the Power of Parks this summer? Let us know in the comments.

We’ll see you there!

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Discover Power of Parks SCA Interpreters

Discover the Power of Parks is presented by New Hampshire State Parks in collaboration with the Student Conservation Association and AmeriCorps and made possible by generous financial support from Eversource. The program offers a look into the natural world through hands-on programming. Interpretive programs focus on connecting participants with nature and building appreciation for New Hampshire's unmatched natural heritage. Programs include guided hikes, interpretive tours, and imaginative environmental workshops for children and families. Programs are offered free to guests with paid park admission fee. No pre-registration is required.

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