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Contact: Gayle Giesecke, 270-597-7604
Contact: Vickie Carson, 270-758-2192
The Friends of Mammoth Cave National Park, Inc. (a 501, c. 3. public charity) and Mammoth Cave National Park announce the availability of transportation grants intended to assist youth groups in visiting Mammoth Cave National Park. Targeted groups include summer youth programs and elementary and middle school students who otherwise might not have an opportunity to visit Mammoth Cave.
It is expected that 3-4 grants will be made to summer youth programs in 2012, and 6-7 for the 2012-2013 school year. Applications will be accepted through June 30, 2012 for Summer youth programs and through September 10, 2012 for school class trips during the 2012-2013 school year. For more information about submission of grant applications please visit http://www.friendsofmammothcave.org/news_updates.htm or contact Executive Director Gayle Giesecke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications for the grants should be mailed Friends of Mammoth Cave National Park, Post Office Box 2, Mammoth Cave, Kentucky 42259 or by email to email@example.com.
"The development of a program to assist schools and other youth organizations has been discussed for several years," said Park Superintendent Patrick Reed. "The need grows out of the increasing difficulty schools now face with lack of funds needed to pay for transportation costs to make day trips to Mammoth Cave National Park."
From the 1950s through the 1990s, most students in Kentucky schools located within 100 miles of Mammoth Cave National Park visited Mammoth Cave at least once during their school tenure. The increasing cost of fuel combined with general economic trends has affected the ability of all groups to provide this experience for their children. Inner city schools and youth groups, as well as groups in economically depressed areas or with high minority populations, have been less likely to provide trips to Mammoth Cave.
"Generally speaking, $500 or less will bring a group to the park," said Henry Holman, chairman of the Friends group. "The grants can reimburse groups for the cost of the driver's salary and mileage cost. Grants are not limited to $500, but those proposals with greater cost will need to have a stronger justification since selections will be based on a cost to benefit assessment."
"Additional donations will be needed in order to continue the grant program into the future because the Friends of Mammoth Cave currently does not possess the funds needed to maintain the grants even at this modest level," added Holman.
Donations to the Friends of Mammoth Cave will be accepted from most sources including individuals, partnerships, and corporations. Donors may designate their tax deductible donation to be used for this program only or to be used at the discretion of the Board of Directors of the Friends of Mammoth Cave National Park, Inc. The larger vision established by the Board would be to ensure that all students in Kentucky would make at least one visit to Mammoth Cave during their school careers. More information on making donations is available at www.friendsofmammothcave.org.
Selection of groups to participate will be the sole responsibility of the Friends of Mammoth Cave National Park. The National Park Service will not participate in the selection process. Once the Friends notify Mammoth Cave National Park of a group's selection, the park staff will contact the group to schedule their visit. Ordinarily there is a discounted rate for school/youth groups of $5.00 per student; however, for the first year of this program the National Park Service will waive this fee for the selected groups.
Because funds are limited, the Friends of Mammoth Cave National Park will award transportation grants to those groups that demonstrate the greatest need. Financial need as well as the group's socio-economic makeup will factor into the selection process. Preference will be given to groups which are traditionally underrepresented in National Parks. Examples of eligible groups are boys and girls clubs, scout groups, church groups, and classes from traditional schools. To be eligible, a group must have one adult chaperone for every ten children.
The Friends of Mammoth Cave National Park works in cooperation with the National Park Service to fund projects and programs that protect, preserve, and enhance the natural and cultural resources and the visitor experience of Mammoth Cave National Park. This can only be accomplished with the support of individuals and organizations that care about Mammoth Cave and want to help ensure that its magic endures forever. The goals of the Friends of Mammoth Cave National Park include promoting:
· Multi-cultural & Multi-generational visitor experiences
· Multi-activity experiences to gain a well-rounded understanding and appreciation for all facets of the park
· Expanding educational programs
· Supporting natural & cultural resource management
· Encouraging International cooperation in conjunction with Mammoth Cave National Park's designation as both a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve
· Encouraging healthy lifestyles through the fitness opportunities and recreational choices available at Mammoth Cave National Park
· Developing partnership opportunities and linkages between Mammoth Cave National Park and the surrounding communities in the Caveland Region.