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Contact: Maria Beotegui, 305-230-1144, x 004
Homestead, FL - Responding to an overwhelming need for transportation and educational programming funding from parks and schools nationwide, the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks, created the Ticket To Ride program. With support from Disney, Ticket to Ride provides financial resources for transportation, in-park educational programming, and meals that make national park field trips possible for schools across the country.This year, Miami-Dade County Public Schools was selected to receive a Ticket to Ride grant in order to bring 1,800 students to Biscayne National Park.Nationwide, over $230,000 in Ticket to Ride grants will make it possible for more than 30,000 students to experience their local national park this fall.
The grant, received through the South Florida National Parks Trust, will allow increased participation in Biscayne Explorer, a program where students learn from hands-on activity stations which mimic park research while teaching about the park's natural resources. Furthermore, the students learn while in a national park setting amidst seagrass meadows, mangrove fringed shores and plentiful wildlife.
Biscayne's partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools is a long standing one. Every school year hundreds of teachers supplement their classroom curriculum with ranger lead programs. "Our biggest goal is that connections formed during Biscayne Explorer will lead to the protection of this rare treasure in the students' own backyard" says Maria Beotegui, Education Coordinator for the park. "A visit to Biscayne National Park's visitor center is a much needed retreat from city life for students. Teachers and students are the first to point out the beauty and tranquility that surrounds them when they step off their buses."
"Providing the means for America's youth to experience all that our national park system has to offer is imperative," said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. "The Ticket to Ride program makes it possible for us to engage the younger generation through the parks' unique natural, cultural and historical classrooms, ultimately fostering an early love and appreciation for these important places."
In addition to Biscayne National Park and the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the Fall 2012 Ticket to Ride grantees include Boston National Historical Park, Crater Lake National Park, Fort Sumter National Monument, Yosemite National Park and 30 others.
For many students, the Ticket to Ride field trip will be their first visit to a national park.Recognizing that once in the parks, a world of experiential learning opens up, the National Park Foundation and the National Park Service are dedicated to providing this critical access to the parks. Through these field trips, young people discover their natural, cultural and historical heritage, participate in volunteer and service-learning activities, enjoy recreational opportunities and most importantly, begin a lifelong relationship with their national parks.
For more information about the Ticket to Ride program, our corporate partners and ways to support this and the other exceptional National Park Foundation programs, go to www.nationalparks.org.
For further information or to register for Biscayne Explorer, please call (305)230-1144 x 08, or visit the park's website at www.nps.gov/bisc/forteachers