His revelation about how PITP can teach students to see even familiar landscapes with new vision ultimately gave Nolan an idea about offering a course for her Brooklyn students based on this quite local adventure that included many sites within commuting distance of St.
In the "Fire Island to Ellis Island" PITP program, the NPS sites range from National Seashore to urban monuments and museums, and, although they may seem disparate, the two lenses through which we study this environment--water as a factor of local habitats and immigration as the historical essence of New York--are intimately related.
Her participation in the PITP "Fire Island to Ellis Island" trip also had a shaping influence on group dynamics that, in turn, inspired some of the curriculum and weather-related flexibility of the course that she developed.
The PITP committee recommends that, before hosting a PITP program, faculty should first take part in one as a learning experience.
As a participant in "Fire Island to Ellis Island," Nolan observed the structure of a program that moved from site to site on a daily basis, which is not typical of most PITP programs, and we shifted from NPS recreational park sites on Long Island to New York City sites that illustrated the National Park Service involvement in monuments and museums.
Unlike many of the PITP adventures, the New York experience is not strictly about nature.
How this PITP program was transformed into a three-credit course at St.
Having witnessed the degree to which students engaged in PITP cultivate their ability to "read" and interpret an environment, I made the decision to create a two-week course that included Fire Island as well as several of the New York City National Parks sites that are accessible for commuter students, who, with the exception of one overnight camping experience, were able to return to their homes each evening.
The Ken Burns series introduced students to national parks in other geographical region so that they could research the history and geography of a place they might visit in a future PITP or other context.
Like PITP, the course emphasized the ecological, recreational, aesthetic, and historical significances of the parks, and, like the PITP adventure "Fire Island to Ellis Island," the course underwent some impromptu transformation as a result of heavy rain.
In keeping with the PITP tradition, I had planned to camp with the students at Watch Hill on Fire Island, and St.
Though the area has been reclaimed, the beach is still littered with old glass bottles and would be a natural site for a volunteer PITP clean-up project.