In the lead up to the 100th birthday of the National Park Service (NPS) in 2016, President Barack Obama announced last week the Every Kid in a Park initiative – a call to action to get all children to visit and enjoy America’s unparalleled outdoors.
America’s public lands and waters offer space for young people to get outside and get active and are living classrooms that provide opportunities to build critical skills through hands-on activities. To inspire the next generation to discover all that America’s public lands and waters have to offer, the Obama Administration will provide to all 4th grade students and their families free admission to all national parks and other federal lands and waters for a full year, starting with the 2015-2016 school year.
The initiative will also distribute information to make it easy for teachers and families to identify nearby public lands and waters and to find programs that support youth outings. Itwill build on a wide range of educational programs and tools that the federal land management agencies already use. For example, NPS has re-launched a website with over 1,000 materials developed for K-12 teachers, including science labs, lesson plans, and field trip guides. Furthermore, under this initiative, the U.S. Department of Education along with several other federal agencies and the NPS will participate in Hands on the Land, a national network of field classrooms and agency resources that connects students, teachers, families, and volunteers with public lands and waterways.
Information on the Every Kid in a Park initiative may be found here on the website of theNational Park Foundation – the congressionally chartered foundation of the NPS. More information will be rolled out in the coming weeks. A fact sheet may be found on the White House website here.