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Contact: Howard Duncan, 423-286-7275
Contact: Dave Carney, 423-569-9778
The National Park Service is pleased to announce that, for the second consecutive year, the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area has been awarded a substantial grant from the National Park Foundation. The grant, in the amount of $20,000, will allow school children to experience the beauty of the Big South Fork while engaging in in-depth overnight educational programs. The grant was awarded for the park’s “Exploring Your Own Backyard - The Park Next Door” program. This grant was made possible through the generous support of Subaru, the Ahmanson Foundation, the Chapman Hanson Foundation, and the Fernandez Pave the Way Foundation.
The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is one of several national parks across the country selected to receive a 2014 America’s Best Idea grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charitable organization of the National Park Service. Inspired by the critically acclaimed Ken Burns’ documentary “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea”, the America’s Best Idea program funds park activities designed to connect diverse, underserved and under-engaged populations throughout the United States with their national parks in innovative and meaningful ways.
“One of the great things about our national parks is that every American can relate to these treasured places if given the chance to experience them,” said Jonathan B. Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service. “It’s our mission to engage visitors from all backgrounds in the diverse stories that we tell in our national parks. Thanks to the support of the National Park Foundation, we can propel that outreach, and engage new audiences that would otherwise never have the opportunity to experience a national park.”
“The America’s Best Idea program gives people – particularly youth – incredible opportunities to connect to our national parks through unique and innovative ways,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “From experiences that center on history, the environment and even adventure, we are able to capture the imagination of a new generation of park-goers in ways that benefit their lives and the future of the parks.”
The 2014 America’s Best Idea grant will be used to develop a sustainable, overnight educational camp. The grant will be used to purchase equipment for the overnight campout and defray costs to the school systems. The residential educational program will be held at the Bandy Creek Campground and will use the group camp sites. Funding from the grant will also be used to finish outfitting the park’s new Interpretation and Education building’s classroom with the latest technologies for learning. Big South Fork Superintendent Niki Stephanie Nicholas said, “This will be the first year of a series of educational campouts that will engage students from not only local school systems but from across the region. We plan to make the program a sustainable project that will benefit students for many years.”