Originally published in
The Weekly Packet, September 12, 2013
Maine Legislature commends Laura Johns for Grand Canyon trip
This summer, the Maine Senate and House of Representatives officially recognized former Brooksville teacher Laura Johns for her successful collaboration with the National Parks Service and the school.
Johns led the effort to arrange for six Brooksville students to hike down the Grand Canyon, accompanied by eight park rangers and school chaperones, in a two-night, three-day field trip in April.
This was the first time the National Park Service and a school group have collaborated on an education expedition into the canyon.
The “Coast to Canyon” trip was “one of a kind,” said Amala Posey, Distance Learning Coordinator with the NPS at the Grand Canyon. “[This] has never been done before.”
The field trip took two years of planning between the NPS and Brooksville Elementary School; students spent months training after school and fundraising for the trip. Johns and then-principal Corinne Pert traveled to meet with rangers and hike the Bright Angel trail in April 2012 before the project was solidified and approved by the school board.
“The National Park Service emphasized that preparation by Brooksville Elementary School, led by Ms. Johns, was instrumental to the success of this pilot project, and this success will allow other students across the country to have a similar opportunity,” stated the official legislative expression of recognition. “We extend our appreciation to Ms. Johns for her commitment to education.”
Representative Ralph Chapman (D-Brooksville) sponsored the statement of recognition, called a “legislative sentiment,” with Senator Brian Langley (R-Hancock County) as its co-sponsor.
“I was really surprised and very delighted,” said Johns. “This was a pretty big initiative between two groups that just happened to find each other. The serendipity behind it all was pretty neat.”