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Contact: Veronica Greear, (423) 569-9778
Contact: Christopher Derman
Obed WSR encourages all fourth graders to visit the park 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 public lands and waters nationwide for a year. Visit www.EveryKidinaPark.gov to download the pass and get more information.
“There’s so much to discover at Obed WSR, and we’re excited to welcome fourth graders and their families throughout the year. We hope that our young visitors learn and have fun in the great outdoors and develop a lifelong connection to our nation’s land, water and wildlife,” said Superintendent Niki Nicholas.
Obed Wild & Scenic River was established to preserve one of the last free-flowing, wild river systems in the Eastern United States. This park is characterized by rugged and primitive terrain, rare and threatened ecosystems, exceptional waters, and opportunities for challenging recreational activities. River paddling excursions combine excitement with skill and adventure. Rock climbing tests your strength, endurance, and dexterity. Hiking along our trails can be both relaxing and challenging. For those who prefer a more calming activity, the Obed can be a great place to catch some fish or do some bird watching. An overnight stay at the Rock Creek Campground puts a fitting end to a wonderful day at the Obed.
Obed WSR 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. This grant titled, “Opening Doors in National Parks through Nature-Based Learning, Outdoor Recreation, and Photography” will incorporate partnerships with fourth grade youth from Girls, Inc. of Oak Ridge and Lonsdale Elementary School, from Knoxville, TN. The non-profit organization Girls, Inc. of Oak Ridge will be introduced to Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area, Manhattan Project National Historical Park, and Obed Wild & Scenic River through a year-long pilot program called Parks in Focus®.
The Udall Foundation’s Parks in Focus® has been connecting youth from underserved communities to nature through photography and outdoor learning since 1999. This program will incorporate basic photography techniques using digital cameras while introducing students to the cultural, historical, and natural world of these national parks sites.
Students from Lonsdale Elementary School will be introduced to the Obed Wild & Scenic River by a school visit from Obed park rangers followed by field trips to the park. These field trips will allow youth who live in the inner city to reach new heights as the experience the sport of rock climbing. They will also participate in ranger-led hikes that showcase the rich natural and cultural history that highlight Tennessee state standards specific to fourth grade.
“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 https://www.everykidinapark.gov and follow the program on Twitter @everykidinapark, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.