NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION AT FOREFRONT OF NEW INITIATIVE CONNECTING AMERICA’S YOUTH TO NATIONAL PARKS
Today, President Obama will announce “Every Kid in a Park,” a new initiative geared toward introducing America’s youth and their families to public lands and waters. The national program seeks to connect four million fourth graders with these treasured places in the 2015-16 academic year, coinciding with the National Park Service Centennial celebration.
The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service, will lead the on-the-ground efforts in collaboration with 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.
Currently, the National Park Foundation’s Open Outdoors for Kids initiative supports Every Kid in a Park by eliminating barriers that prevent America’s youth from visiting their national parks. The National Park Foundation does this by providing the much-needed funds to make national park field trips, citizen science projects, Junior Ranger activities, experiential learning opportunities, and more possible. Over the last three years, National Park Foundation grants have made it possible for more than 200,000 students to visit their national parks.
“Thanks to our public-private partnerships, we are able to open up a world of experiential learning in our nation’s largest classrooms – our national parks. Every Kid in a Park will enhance this important work and will give many youth and their families the opportunity to explore our national parks for the first time. This aligns perfectly with our mission as we focus on engaging the next generation of park stewards as well as those who already know and love the parks,” said Dan Wenk, president of the National Park Foundation. “We applaud President Obama on his commitment to this initiative and we’re thrilled to work with all of our partners, including the National Park Service, local Friends Groups, various youth organizations, philanthropists, and foundations to connect kids to America’s magnificent national parks, inspiring their natural curiosity and love of these special places.”
This initiative advances the National Park Foundation and National Park Service’s centennial goal of connecting with and creating the next generation of national park visitors, supporters, and advocates.
In celebration of the National Park Service Centennial in 2016, the National Park Foundation is also spearheading a two-year public engagement and education campaign launching this spring titled “Find Your Park.” The initiative will highlight the National Park Service’s important work, inviting people everywhere to connect with their parks and inspiring the next generation of park stewards. In addition, as part of its commitment to the National Park Service Centennial, the Foundation is embarking on a national fundraising campaign dedicated to raising private support for America’s national parks.