By: Mai; Umaporn Muneenam (Thailand)
It has been already almost two weeks that I have stayed with my lovely American host family (Nickerson family). During these stay, I have a chance learning to live with normal American lifestyle. Norma (my host) is a lecturer at the University of Montana, and has similar interest with me on environmental interpretation as well as impacts from tourism. So that she took me to visit in varieties of place where I can learn best about those issues in natural areas; with the minimal negative impacts to the environment, which there are plenty and well-known in Montana, US, as well as in the World.
First place that we visited the Yellowstone National Park; the World’s 1st National Park. It has been long time that I knew this national park from the textbook, and I wish to have chance to visit once. Since Norma is lecture based as well as mother based, so that she tried to give me the best chance for me to learn. She concerned from the proper wear in the specific weather in fall during a trip to the best spot to learn nature in the national park. We spent about four days including traveling for this trip. We saw and learnt physical environment, animals, and plants here. For example, geyser, hot spring, hot mud pool, grizzly bear, elk, bison, big horn sheep, trumpeter swan, and large pine tree. These cannot be appreciated if there was no good interpretation through person, non-person, and first hand experience.
Second place we visited the Glacier National Park which I can say that if I am not be here in US with this Economic Empowerment Program, I’ve never heard about it before. Norma, again, designed this trip for me. This trip, I and the other participant from Vietnam went together with his host family. Luckily, on the day we visited it was shiny day, and after we came back it turned to cloudy and rained. As the Norma’s style, she wants everyone to learn best when we are here in US. She and the tour guide then lead us to walk to one trail to the waterfall. At this trail, we had a chance to see moose very close, and kept a lot of photos and VDO. After that we also had a chance to visit the gift shops where I found many interesting tools to keep my learning and memory from this trip. For example, book about ‘Who pooped in the park?’, and cards about plants, animals, mushrooms, as well as Native American tribes.
Although, I did not buy everything that I mentioned above back home, but I am sure that there is the other kinds of tools and channels to learn in the future if I am interested in. Thinking back to the person I love at home, at least I took a lot of photos and share with them through the social media which is very popular right now, and it is a good tools to learn quick and easily. I am sure that they learnt something, and I wish they have a chance like me to visit here and learn about the US natural education in varieties of ways.