Rock the Park
Our national parks are more important than ever as we face a climate crisis on our planet. For that reason, it’s important for kids to watch Rock the Park and to see Jack Steward and Colton Smith, who “share a passion for our national parks and other wild places around the world” do their thing. That thing is hiking, biking — exploring in whatever way they can through every national park in the country. Their journey started in Glacier as they used to visit the park when they were in college together at the University of Montana. It sparked a desire in the two friends to explore the wilderness. One of their favorite places is Glacier National Park – “America’s version of the Swiss Alps,” they tell viewers in one episode. The power of nature, they say, is huge. “It inspires you and builds you up.”
Not only do viewers get to follow along as Jack and Colton showcase the incredible beauty of parks, but we learn from them, too. One of their tips: Make sure the park is open. It may seem silly, but with funding budget cuts and weather issues, the park you choose to visit might be closed. More than practical tips and facts, viewers are most influenced by the guides’ infectious admiration for nature. Specifically, they see parks as a place of “self-discovery.” At one moment, Jack breaks down as he shares that his dad is battling lung cancer. When Jack realizes he needs a connection with “something greater” than himself, he heads to a park to find a reminder of the beauty in the world. In our phone-obsessed digital world, the show is a refreshing and welcome reminder of the power and importance of being in nature, and specifically, in our parks.
Ann Oldenburg ©2020 Parents’ Choice
Ann Oldenburg, lecturer and assistant director of the journalism program at Georgetown University, writes about television, food, workplace issues and other pop culture topics. A University of Florida Gator with a degree in journalism, she began her career at The Washington Post and spent more than two decades with USA TODAY. She and her husband have three sons and live in McLean, Virginia.