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Contact: Autumn Cook, 304-535-2908
New National Program Encourages Families and Classes to Visit National Parks
Harpers Ferry, WV – Harpers Ferry National Historical Park invites all 4th grade students to visit the parkfor free as part of the White House’s new Every Kid in a Park program. Launched on September 1, fourth grade students can now go to www.everykidinapark.gov to complete an activity and obtain a free annual entry pass to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including national parks.
“During the National Park Service’s centennial celebration, we want everyone to get to know their national parks, and we’re offering a special invitation to fourth graders and their families to discover everything that national parks offer,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “We hope these free passes for fourth graders will introduce 4th graders, their classes, and families to our national treasures, places where they can run and play, explore and learn.”
To receive their individual free pass for national parks, fourth graders can visit the Every Kid in a Park website and play a game to access their special Every Kid in a Park pass. Fourth graders and their families can then use this pass for free entry national parks and other federal public lands and waters across the country from September 1st, 2015 through August 31, 2016. The website also includes fun and engaging learning activities aligned to educational standards, trip planning tools, safety and packing tips and other important and helpful information for educators and parents.
In addition to providing every fourth grader in America a free entry pass for national parks and federal public lands and waters, fourth grade educators, youth group leaders and their students across the country will also participate in the program through field trips and other learning experiences.
“We’re rolling out the red carpet to area fourth grade students and teachers. We have a wonderful outdoor classroom, and we want every fourth grader to experience it,” said Dennis Frye, Chief of Interpretation, Education, and Partnerships at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. “We believe Every Kid in a Park is an investment in America’s past and its future. It’s an investment that introduces each student to Harpers Ferry as a national park and provides the students with memories that will last a lifetime.”
Over 10,000 fourth graders have visited Harpers Ferry in the past five years to explore the museums, hike the trails, and attend ranger-led programs, which are tied to curriculum. Since the announcement of the Every Kid in the Park initiative, Harpers Ferry park staff has been planning for an increased interest in field trips to the park and has secured funding to cover transportation costs for many local 4th graders. With a $5,000 grant from the Eastern Panhandle Community Foundation, all fourth grade classes in Jefferson, Berkeley, and Morgan counties in West Virginia can visit this school year for free. “National Parks are fantastic classrooms, and we’re all set to welcome area fourth graders to our outdoor classroom,” said Frye.
The goal of the Every Kid in a Park program is to connect 4th graders with the great outdoors and inspire them to become future environmental stewards, ready to preserve and protect national parks and other public lands for years to come. The program is an important part of the National Park Service’s centennial celebration in 2016, which encourages everyone to Find Your Park.
Every Kid in a Park is an administrative-wide effort, launched by President Obama, and supported by eight federal agencies, including the National Park Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Department of Education, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.