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Research Learning Centers' Mission

Research Learning Centers increase the effectiveness and communication of research in the national parks.

Research Learning Centers

National Park Service Research Learning Centers (RLCs) are places where science and education come together to preserve and protect areas of national significance.

Nineteen RLCs serve a park or regional network of parks. Many are physical places with laboratories, work spaces, and housing for researchers and students. Others are virtual and consist of web portals with research databases, educational materials, and multimedia presentations on scientific topics.

Since 2001, the RLCs have been helping researchers work in national parks and integrating research into the visitor experience, park resource management, and educational outreach programs. They fill their role in collaboration with universities, K–12 schools, professional societies, and diverse research and education groups.

Strategic Framework

Strategic Framework (PDF 1.2MB)

By the Numbers

In 2012, the RLCs:

  • Provided 18,000 person-nights of accomodation for researchers and students.
  • Witnessed the publication of over 260 peer-reviewed publications from projects they had supported in recent years.
  • Contributed to more than 92 reports on the state of park resources and managers' needs for scientific information.
  • Organized or contributed to nearly 100 in-park workshops, seminars, symposia and related events that brought current scientific information to park managers.
  • Partnered with over 200 K–12 schools and other educational organizations.
  • Involved tens of thousands of students from local communities in STEM-related field trips, camps, and other formal programs.

Featured Topics

Find an RLC

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Discover details about and links to the 19 RLCs: where they are, what they can do for you, and what parks they serve. Learn more...

For Researchers

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Interested in doing research in a national park? Read about research permits, parks' research needs, on-line research databases, funding opportunities, and more. Learn more...

For Educators

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Interested in integrating park-based research into STEM classes and informal activities? Explore lesson plans, teacher workshops, multimedia resources, field trips, and more. Learn more...

Citizen Science

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The RLCs and partners offer many opportunities for the public to help collect scientific data relevant to the protection and management of national parks. Learn more...

Last Updated: October 05, 2015