National Scenic Visitors Center / Earthwalk USA
Sharing the wonder of America’s diverse landscapes, instilling
the passion to explore and the will to protect
the passion to explore and the will to protect
A ‘hands-on’ map experience…
The National Scenic Visitors Center’s Earthwalk Explorer map is meant to be walked on, crawled upon, looked over, and felt. These children are enjoying the experience in a tactile adventure that teaches geography and broader science topics.
Along with themed Geoshows covering Native American trails, petroglyph carvings, and (in progress) bird migration, visitors are treated to Explore Mode sequences as the map gently reveals physical, geopolitical, and cultural attributes of the land, such as state capitols, highest elevations, interstate highways, and wilderness parks.
Keep an eye out for our next installation, and get a hands-and-feet-on encounter with the Eastern United States.
ASTC… and Beyond!
The National Scenic Visitors Center enjoyed a robust week of exhibiting and networking at last September’s ASTC national convention, held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Now we’re off and running with a new slate of glorious possibilities shining in this new year.
We’re polishing up our prototype Earthwalk Explorer walkable relief map for use in a number of scenarios, including installations for educational use that will allow students and teachers to engineer their own Geoshows, presented on the 16 x 8 ft. map.
We’re also garnering the resources and personnel to forward our grandest vision of all – the 100 yard long Earthwalk USA map. A feasibility study is in the works, administered by members of the NSVC Board, Advisory Council, Consulting Crew, and Volunteers; all key contributors to our mission.
We look forward to bringing our project to culmination, noting that the long journey to this point has been similar to the terrain we showcase – complete with hills, valleys, mountains, and open highways!
For a summary our story to date, take a look at this NSVC Showcase Video, which provides a glimpse into our colorful past and expectant future.
Coming Soon ~ A new year, new people, and a new vision for the NSVC.
Phil Reeder, Matt Kambic, Dan Beaupre, Waverly Walker, Emily Landis and Mary Ellen Snyder of the NSVC Board.
We’re getting close to 2023!
It’s been a super busy 2022 for the National Scenic Visitors Center team. But the horizon, come January, is taking on a whole new perspective, which we’ll be sharing with you here. A quick recap is in order.
Most recently, and quite significantly, the NSVC, featuring our Earthwalk Explorer 16 x 8 ft. walkable relief map of the Eastern USA, appeared ‘on the floor’ at the Association of Science & Technology Centers national convention this past September, in Pittsburgh PA.
We heartily welcomed new Board Director Emily Landis, renowned for her accomplishments as the Lancaster Science Factory’s Executive Director.
We watched as many feet walked the Explorer map at the ASTC convention, expressing various forms of amazement, professional interest, and personal engagement.
Our installation team of Stephanie, Mike, and Angel made the NSVC booth set-up and breakdown a smooth-as-silk endeavor, despite the various random aspects that always present themselves on large trade show floors.
Duquesne University graciously provided lodging, support, and lent their esteemed Environmental Sciences Dean Emeritus Phil Reeder, who engineered our board meeting on campus and then steered us to a wonderful Chinese restaurant to sate our appetites and further rally our enthusiasms.
At the top of the NSVC ledger of notable happenings is what we’re calling the ‘Pittsburgh Pivot’; a re-energizing of the goal to produce our 100 yard long, meticulously detailed, one-inch-equals-one-mile scaled walkable map of America ~ Earthwalk USA. Hawai’i and Alaska reside in geospatial harmony, and the map surface lights up with dynamic data featuring everything from weather to gold seams to ice cream stands.
Stay tuned for twenty-twenty-three, as it queues up to be a momentously mappable magnificent adventure for the NSVC team, and more to the point, our visitors ~ You!
Earthwalk Explorer now open at Northampton Community College
Experience the amazing geographical adventure of the National Scenic Visitors Center’s EARTHWALK EXPLORER! The Explorer is currently welcoming visitors at the Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Click HERE to purchase tickets and get your feet on the map!
The Earthwalk Explorer is a unique, family-friendly experience that includes traversing an 8′ x 16′, 3D walkable map of the Eastern US in socks. Visitors are immersed in colorful Geoshows that tell stories of geography, history and culture. An activity guide, a replica of the famous Jennings petroglyph and a kids’ coloring table round out the visit.
Visitors explore the physical relief, learning about the landscape through a tactile experience.
The Earthwalk Explorer walkable relief map will be available for visits through September 8, 2022. We hope you’ll be able to join the thousands of ‘earthwalkers’ who’ve made tracks (in their socks!) across its length and width.
The above image shows a segment of a Geoshow, providing visitors with a bird’s eye view of Native American trails in Pennsylvania.
In the Rotunda ~ Earthwalk Map visited by Senator Browne, PA House Representatives
The National Scenic Visitors Center Earthwalk Explorer map continues to see ‘new feet’! In this case, we’re honored to have Earthwalkers from the Pennsylvania General Assembly as visitors. Senator Pat Browne got a chance to look at the work he has helped tremendously to facilitate, courtesy of NSVC Executive Director Mary Ellen Snyder’s first-hand guided tour.
NSVC Executive Director / Co-Founder Mary Ellen Snyder and Senator Pat Browne, standing tall in the center of Pennsylvania.
L to R: Milou Mackenzie, Member PA House of Representatives; Carli Plesic, Earthwalk Explorer Host; Mary Ellen Snyder, NSVC Executive Director; Ryan Mackenzie, Member, PA House of Representatives
PA House of Representatives Milou Mackenzie and Ryan Mackenzie also visited.
Children map out their own explorations on the Earthwalk Explorer.
The NSVC welcomes all footprints (as long as they are ‘socked’ ~ note the NSVC arrow socks in the photos above. It’s a convenient way to point out locations of interest on the map with one’s toes).
Children and families, teachers and students, young and old continue to explore the 16 x 8 ft. walkable relief map and the accompanying petroglyph rock replica. The map will be in Harrisburg until February 25
NSVC Imagine! video (click to view)
The National Scenic Visitors Center is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. We welcome your tax-deductible contributions!
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