SRL visits Zion National Park to report on STEM

Judge Memorial Catholic High School, Salt Lake City, UT

Judge Memorial Catholic High School students pose atop Angel’s Landing in Zion after a rainy hike.

In February, SRL Web Producer Adelyn Baxter flew to Salt Lake City, Utah to meet up with the Lab at Judge Memorial Catholic High School.

Student journalists at Judge, along with their teacher Chris Sloan, pitched a series of stories on topics in Zion National Park in southern Utah as part of this year’s STEM SRL theme partnering with U.S. National Parks for their 100th anniversary. The students hoped to explore the delicate balance the U.S. Park Service strives to maintain between making the park accessible and enjoyable to visitors while also preserving its fragile ecosystem and minimizing human impact.

Over President’s Day Weekend, the group explored Zion independently and with the guidance of park staff. In addition to hiking to Angel’s Landing and visiting many of the park’s other stunning landmarks, they interviewed rangers about the park’s efforts to improve sustainability with its shuttle bus system and talked to hydrologists about efforts to protect guests from the threat of flash floods and landslides. They also improved their shooting skills by documenting the stunning sights of Zion.

“Not only was it a great group of students and mentors adventuring around one of Utah’s beautiful national parks, but each student group was able to have a real experience interviewing and filming for their own story,” said youth journalist Chloe Schafer, a senior at Judge. “The trip was so much fun with hiking (even in the rain), exploring and filming throughout the park.”

Afterward, the students returned to Salt Lake City to edit their footage. Check the site to see the final results in a few weeks, and see pictures and video from their trip here.