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Contact: Emily Linroth, 202-619-7156
The National Park Service (NPS) is kicking off a new school year and the second year of the Every Kid In a Park program by distributing passes to every public school fourth grader in the District. The passes, which provide free access for fourth graders and their families to any of the nation's 413 national parks, are part of the NPS commitment to get youth outside and inspire a new generation to enjoy and take care of their public lands.
In the National Capital Region, rangers are visiting public schools throughout the district, presenting educational programs, and handing out passes to fourth graders, as well as inviting them to visit neighborhood national parks. So far, rangers have visited 33 schools and handed out 1,676 passes, with more on the way.
"Our goal for the second year of the Every Kid In a Park program is to get a pass into the hands of every D.C. fourth grader," Bob Vogel, NPS National Capital Regional Director said.
"Our goal for our next 100 years to inspire these students and their families to explore and enjoy their incredible public lands across the country and right here in the District—there is a wealth of nature and history right here in our backyard."
The NPS is also partnering with the National Park Trust, which will provide bus funding for every DCPS fourth grade class to have a national park experience. The bus funding was awarded to the National Park Trust by the Outdoor Foundation and REI, and every park experience will be at no cost to the students, parents or schools. The North Face is also providing funding to the National Park Trust to get students from charter schools into national parks.
In addition to rangers visiting classrooms, national parks are hosting events throughout the region. Close to 50 fourth graders from Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom visited Rock Creek Park on Oct. 7 to receive their passes and participate in relays to set up tents and pack hiking packs, hikes to learn about wildlife and a planetarium show.
On Wednesday, Oct. 12, students from St. Francis Xavier Academy will pick up their passes at Anacostia Park and then get a look at social and environmental issues facing the river through a special boat tour led by by the Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS) in partnership with the NPS. Students will also take a river trail walk with rangers and visit the D.C. Aquatic Resources Education Center to see aquarium tanks containing turtles, fish and other animals that live in the Anacostia River. Media are welcome to join the students on the river. Please RSVP to save a spot: Emily Linroth (NPS) 202-619-7156, email@example.com OR Mike Bento (AWS) 202-320-3174, Mike@engagestrategies.us.Learn more about the Every Kid In a Park program at https://everykidinapark.gov/.