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Contact: South Florida National Parks Trust: Don Finefrock, 305-665-4769
Contact: Media Contact, Linda Friar, 305-242-7714
Contact: Media Contact, Mary Plumb, 305-242-7017
Everglades National Park and the South Florida National Parks Trust (SFNPT) announced today that they are the joint recipients of a 2015 National Park Service (NPS) Centennial Challenge Grant. Centennial Challenge Grants are part of a multi-year effort to prepare for the National Park Service Centennial in 2016. The funding received by Everglades National Park will bring 12,500 students, teachers, and chaperones from south Florida schools to the park to experience the Everglades first hand through educational programs that support state curriculum.
The NPS Centennial Grant Program includes $26 million for projects at national parks around the country, including $16 million from non-governmental partners, like the SFNPT. In the National Park Service’s Southeast Region, this grant program will fund 25 projects totaling over $3 million dollars. Everglades National Park’s education project received $78,172. To be eligible for these grants, parks had to have partners willing to raise matching funds. The SFNPT, Everglades National Park’s official nonprofit partner, raised $117,500 from private donors to support the Everglades education program and provide the needed match.
“The Centennial Challenge Program is a great way to leverage federal dollars, with a 1:1 or higher private match, said Pedro Ramos, Everglades National Park Superintendent. “Everglades National Park could not engage youth on this scale without the support of our great partners, the South Florida National Parks Trust.”
"This grant will give more kids an opportunity to visit the Everglades, to see alligators, wood storks and egrets in the wild, to get outside, experience nature and learn why the Everglades is so important to the future of South Florida," said Don Finefrock, Executive Director of the South Florida National Parks Trust. The SFNPT contributes more than $100,000 annually to support the Everglades Environmental Education Program.
The Centennial Challenge Grants are part of a multi-year effort to prepare for the 2016 Centennial of the National Park Service including the Find Your Park Campaign which connects a broader audience to public lands and President Obama’s Every Kid in a Park initiative that will give every fourth grader and their families free access to national parks and all federal lands and waters for a full year, beginning this fall.