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Contact: Jennie Albrinck, 760-367-5520
Joshua Tree National Park encourages all fourth graders to visit the park for free this year as part of the Every Kid in a Park program. The program gives fourth grade students, and those accompanying them, free access to more than 2,000 federally managed lands and waters. Visit www.EveryKidinaPark.gov to download the pass and obtain more information.
Superintendent David Smith states, "Every fourth grade American family is receiving an amazing gift from the people of the United States –free admission to National Parks for a whole year. This means not only places like Joshua Tree, but also Grand Canyon, Sequoia, Yosemite, and over 300 other parks. Our parks unify us, and tell the collective story of this amazing country –we are committed to making it as easy as possible for every American to enjoy their parks."
Joshua Tree was selected to receive a 2016 field trip grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks, to support the Every Kid in a Park program. The grant is part of the Foundation's Open OutDoors for Kids program. The park will reach over 1000 students through summer enrichment programs with Riverside County Schools. These programs will have a strong focus on combining art and science, focusing on Next Generation Science Standards. Each program will have follow up in-park visits, and a final reflection project. Students will be mentored by a ranger and an artist-in-residence as they create this final project that shares how their experiences in Joshua Tree affected them.
"These grants are planting the seeds for lifelong relationships with national parks and their programs," said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation. "By providing access to transformative experiences like listening to the sound of birds chirping, walking the halls of a school that tell a civil rights story, looking up at a dark night sky, or pitching a tent with a friend for the first time, these children are forever impacted. We appreciate the power of national parks and, through our support, the National Park Foundation hopes to share them with as many kids as possible."
The Every Kid in a Park pass –which features a new design for this year's students –is valid for a full calendar year starting September 1. The pass grants free entry for fourth graders and up to three accompanying adults (or an entire car for drive-in parks) to most federally managed lands and waters, including national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and marine sanctuaries.
The newly expanded Every Kid in a Park website has links to educational activities, trip planning, field trip options, the downloadable pass, and additional information in both English and Spanish. After completing a fun educational activity, the child can download and print a pass. The paper pass can be traded for a more durable pass at participating federal sites nationwide.
Every Kid in a Park is part of President Obama's commitment to protect our nation's unique outdoor spaces and ensure that every American has the opportunity to visit and enjoy them. The program, now entering its second year, is a call to action for children to experience America's spectacular outdoors, rich history and culture.
Every Kid in a Park is a crucial component of a multi-pronged approach to inspire the next generation to discover all that our nation's public lands and waters have to offer, including opportunities to be active, spend time with friends and family, and serve as living classrooms to build critical skills.
The Every Kid in a Park program is an Administration-wide effort between the Department of the Interior, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of the Army, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The program continues each year with the then-current group of fourth graders. After 12 years, every school-age child in America will have had an opportunity to visit their public land and waters for free, inspiring the next generation to be stewards of our nation's shared natural and cultural heritage.
For more information, please visit www.everykidinapark.gov and follow the program on Twitter @everykidinapark, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. For additional information about Joshua Tree, please visit www.nps.gov/jotr. You can also follow us on Twitter @JoshuaTreeNP, and on Facebook at Joshua Tree NP.