Students at St. Mary's School learn that God created the world and all its wonders. Every spring the fourth graders take a closer look at God's blessings to our nation when they study our national parks. They each choose a park and present it to other students and parents. They learn first hand from National park rangers what the rangers do and the rangers present them with "junior ranger" patches after having completed the online junior ranger program for the Lewis and Clark Historical Trail. The national park office here in Omaha, also offered the students a chance to "test run" a new and updated version of the program that included taking a national park junior ranger pledge with these words"....I promise to visit a national park someday and I promise that I will like them more than candy!"
This year the 4th graders were also blessed to learn about the most visited national park in the world from visiting exchange student, Ju Weon Kim who lives in Seoul, South Korea right across the street from "Bukhansan." Five million visitors walk through the park every year. Her American classmates were awed by the immensity of the park as well as what is behind its gates; 100 Buddhist temples. What surprised them even more is that JuWeon can look out her high-rise apartment window in Seoul and gaze upon its mountains. Many of us have to travel great distances to see the beauty of our national parks.
Whether here or on the other side of the world, St. Mary's fourth graders know God created an Earth filled with many wonders. Maybe someday each of these students will be able to visit a national park and perhaps as JuWeon wanders through the one across the street from her home, she will think about the parks here in our homeland.