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Contact: Veronica Greear, (423) 346-6294
Contact: Christopher Derman, (423) 569-9778
The National Park Service will celebrate its 100th birthday on August 25, 2016. The second century is about creating ways for the next generation to make new discoveries in our national parks and connect people to parks. Obed Wild and Scenic River continues to engage new audiences of youth and introduce them to their national parks through healthy outdoor recreation and curriculum-based education programs.
The park was recently awarded an “Every Kid in a Park” grant through the National Park Foundation. 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 Every Kid in a Park initiative provides opportunities for fourth grade students across the country to visit national parks and other public lands during the 2016-2017 school years.
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.
“The National Park Service’s centennial celebration is about engaging new audiences of youth and these partnerships exemplify this very concept. We are pleased to work with these students and hope this opens the door to the spirit for future exploration of national park sites and hope they come back with their friends and family,” said Obed Superintendent, Niki Stephanie Nicholas. As the National Park Service moves into its second centennial year, we hope to continue to offer park programs that invite new audiences of park visitors.