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Status: New Idea
by Eugenia on ‎08-20-2015 04:13 PM

You just never know where a teacher’s classroom assignment will take you. When Marilyn Hawker, a teacher at Neptune Beach Elementary, assigned my sons a project, I never imagined that it would be the start of trips which would take my family all across the United States to the most stunningly beautiful places in the world.  They were asked to pick a National Park, write to the park service, and prepare a ten to fifteen minute presentation, complete with pictures for her class.  Being the mother of boys and knowing that oral presentations were not their favorite assignment, I decided to sweeten the pot. I promised them that if they did a good job, we would actually visit the park.  Her assignment that year started the journey that continues today.  Each year we pick a new park or sometimes we revisit one that we have visited before.  Mother Nature does not disappoint.

That summer we packed up our flip flops, bought some hiking boots, and took off to Montana to Yellowstone National Park.  We were in awe of the wildlife and the scenery. Since then we have travelled to Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, California, Arizona, North Carolina, Utah, Colorado, Maine, Washington DC, Tennessee, Canada and the Florida Keys to more than 24 of the most gorgeous National Parks and National Monuments on the planet. Our family’s happiest memories are centered around the trips that we have taken together, and thankfully these places have been protected by our federal government for future generations. Hopefully, the saga will continue.

This summer, my son, Chase, now twenty-three, who was a first grader when these trips began, proposed to the girl of his dreams, at the Silver Salmon Creek Lodge, at Lake Clark National Park on a beach in Alaska.  I photographed him as he dropped to one knee with bears playing in the background.  I’m certain that his finance, Katie, knows that she was saying “yes” to more than a marriage.  She was saying yes to a lifetime of traveling and exploring and observing the most extraordinary creatures and stunning scenery that our nation has to offer, it’s National Parks.

Thank you, Mrs. Hawker, for it all began with your classroom assignment. Submitted by Eugenia McCall.

Comments
by Community Manager
on ‎08-21-2015 12:59 PM

Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow! What an awesome story!!! Thank you for sharing that!

 

Hope to hear more!

 

Stephen

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