Do you have a fourth grade child and love camping in America’s outdoor treasures? If so, the National Park Foundation wants you to go camping – at no charge.
President Obama and the National Park Foundation recently announced the launch of “Every Kid in a Park,” a new initiative to get all 4th graders and their families to experience the places that are home to our country’s natural treasures, rich history, and vibrant culture.
From Yellowstone National Park to the Civil War battlefields, from the Everglades to the Redwoods, Every Kid in a Park aims to create a next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates. The goal is to every 4th grade student across the country to experience their public lands and waters in person throughout the 2015-2016 school year.
In the coming months the Parks Foundation will start issuing an “Every Kid in a Park” pass, which grants free access to all of America’s national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, and more. The pass will be available for the 2015-2016 school year. The Every Kid in a Park website is where you can register for a parks pass for the year-long program.
The program is part of Open OutDoors for Kids, an initiative from the National Park Foundation to connect more kids to their national parks through fun and engaging activities. Children today are more disconnected from their natural and cultural heritage than ever before. Open OutDoors for Kids is changing that—building on a child’s innate wonder and curiosity about the natural world.
National parks are gateways to self-discovery and learning and Open OutDoors for Kids is making sure all kids from across the country get the chance to experience them. The program accomplishes this through:
ACCESS: Providing transportation, programming and free entry to the parks for children and teachers to experience hands-on, immersive learning.
RELEVANCY: Connecting kids and families to the parks through programs that make people’s lives better. We establish emotional relevancy of the parks through cultural programs and encourage active, healthy lifestyles through recreational and restoration activities.
EDUCATION: Establish “in-park” opportunities for children to learn in our national parks, the world’s largest outdoor classrooms. Unmatched as learning environments and living laboratories, national parks offer children, families and teachers a unique gateway to experience nature, history and culture, to learn about biodiversity and the environment, and to engage with each other in the great outdoors.
According to the Washington Post, the program will draw an estimated 93,000 fourth-grader visitors, costing the National Park Service approximately $2.3 million in lost revenue.
The Every Kid in a Park initiative is an administration-wide effort among the National Park Service, Forest Service, Department of Education, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.