News Release

Biscayne National Park and Everglades National Park Receive National Park Foundation Open OutDoors for Kids Grant to Connect and Engage Students with National Parks

A ranger in uniform teaches a group of kids
Funds from this grant will allow staff at Biscayne and Everglades national parks to provide learning opportunities for the second half of the 2021-2022 school year.

NPS photo by Ashley Castellanos Rodriguez

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News Release Date: March 16, 2022

Contact: National Park Service: Antonia Florio, 786-765-6009

Contact: National Park Foundation: Alanna Sobel, 202-796-2538

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Biscayne and Everglades national parks received an Open OutDoors for Kids grant from the National Park Foundation (NPF). This grant will enable both South Florida national parks to provide powerful and innovative learning opportunities for the second half of the 2021-2022 school year.

“We are so grateful to our partners at the National Park Foundation for their continuing support of our educational programming,” said Pedro Ramos, superintendent of Everglades and Dry Tortugas national parks. “These programs make it possible for our local youth to form vital connections with these national parks and the ecosystems that are essentially in their backyards.”

At Biscayne National Park, funds from this grant will be used to overcome transportation cost barriers for Title I schools in Miami-Dade County, allowing park staff to continue to engage with underserved and diverse audiences. Additionally, funds will be used to provide boat transportation for students to cross Biscayne Bay and visit the northern Florida Keys as part of the education program’s newest addition, Biscayne Voyager. Program supplies and staffing support are also key components of the funding.

At Everglades National Park, funds from this grant will be applied to continue offering a hybrid approach to requests for curriculum-based programming. From in-park visits on the tram at Shark Valley to distance learning opportunities broadcast live from habitats throughout the park, educational opportunities which have been previously supported by the National Park Foundation continue to grow and expand. Funds will also support a professional development workshop with nearby Zoo Miami’s “Florida: Mission Everglades” exhibit, as well as staffing support and supplies needed to create professional development videos.

"Partnerships like these enable us to plant the seeds of stewardship within our local community that will hopefully blossom into relationships with adults who are lifelong learners and advocates for our national parks," said Penelope Del Bene, superintendent of Biscayne National Park.

Since 2011, NPF has engaged more than one million students in educational programs connecting them with national parks across the country. NPF’s goal is to connect another one million students to parks by the end of the 2024-25 school year.

“National parks are America’s largest classrooms, and Open OutDoors for Kids seeks to connect as many kids as possible to them,” said National Park Foundation President and CEO Will Shafroth. “With parks, learning is fun, memorable and hands-on. Parks open kids’ eyes to the wonder and complexities of nature and history, sharing diverse perspectives that offer a wider understanding of our country’s progress and struggles.” 

The NPF Open OutDoors for Kids program is made possible by private philanthropy, including support from Youth Engagement and Education premier partner Union Pacific Railroad and supporting partner GoGo squeeZ. Additional funding is provided by Alicia and Peter Pond, Apple, Columbia Sportswear, Sierra, Parks Project, Humana, The Batchelor Foundation, Inc. and many other donors.

Learn more about NPF’s efforts to engage students with national parks as classrooms.

Biscayne National Park’s Education program has been providing real world learning opportunities for over 50 years. Biscayne connects with students through virtual, onsite and overnight programs that incorporate the mangrove shoreline, Biscayne Bay, the northern Florida Keys and the northern portion of Florida’s Coral Reef. By offering curriculum-based education programs, Biscayne can improve scientific literacy, increase appreciation for conservation and stewardship and encourage lifelong learning. Learn more about Biscayne’s Education Program.

Everglades’ Education program seeks to connect students and teachers with the resources of the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. Since 1971, rangers have offered curriculum-based programming that interprets the sawgrass prairie, the pine rocklands, the hardwood forest, the mangrove estuary and Florida Bay, as well as the park’s significant cultural history. This education program seeks to continue to connect and inspire the next generation of park stewards through a wide variety of learning methods. Learn more about Everglades’ Education Program.

Title I schools receive financial assistance through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to ensure students have the resources to meet academic standards. Schools in these communities are less likely to have the resources to engage national parks and outdoor education into student curriculum.
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About The National Park FoundationThe National Park Foundation works to protect wildlife and park lands, preserve history and culture, educate and engage youth, as well as connect people everywhere to the wonder of parks. We do it in collaboration with the National Park Service, the park partner community and with the generous support of donors, without whom our work would not be possible. Learn more at www.nationalparks.org.  

About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 423 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.  
 



a ranger stands in water in front of an iphone
NPS photo

The grant will also fund virtual learning opportunities at the national parks.

Last updated: March 16, 2022

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