During the week of November 9-12, we worked with Discovery Southeast to get input and share ideas from youth for the MGRA and MGVC planning effort. We had 12-15 kids aged 8-12 at each session and they were very engaged, creative and all had fun. The facilitated session included seven exercises to get them thinking about the MGRA and public lands. Discovery Southeast staff lead the sessions on climate change. Below are the exercises:

  • National Parks and Forests play an important role in telling America’s story and providing access to great lands, recreation and our heritage.
    • Who has been to a National Park or Forest? Name it.
  • Each Park/Forest has its own story to tell that makes it special.
    • What did you do there, what were the best parts?
  • As more people visit our Parks and Forests what can happen to these special places
    • Name what can happen when too many people visit these places
  • Can we minimize our impacts on the places we want to visit?
    • Name solutions that can minimize impacts on the natural environment
  • Climate change is happening (these two questions led by Discovery Southeast as part of their education curriculum)
    • Name how the landscape at the MGRA is changing as a result of climate change
  • How can we slow down climate change
    • Name how we can slow climate change
  • In 50 years when you are an adult what would you like to see and do at the MGRA. 
    • Name the activities you would like to do
    • Do any of these activities impact the natural resources. How can we minimize their impacts?
  • Scavenger hunt
    • Scavenger hunt based on the exhibits at the MGVC. Kids to search for images and text and put on their work sheet.

Here are some of the highlights of what they would like to be included in the planning effort for the MGRA.

  • Bike trail to falls, glacier and ice caves (they are too far to walk to)
  • Laser glacier or hologram show showing the limits of the glacier on the existing landscape over time
  • New visitor center near the glacier
  • A permanent ice cave and trail
  • Make better sledding hill that isn’t surrounded by water
  • Use electric buses
  • Boating on the lake
  • Rock climbing facility
  • Make several visitor centers around the MGRA each with their own theme and link them
  • Make other reasons to visit the visitor center and area (education areas and natural areas such a meadow)
  • Restaurant
  • More bear viewing
  • Grave stone saying “Here lays the glacier”
  • Special area for Discovery Southeast nature center (others can also use)