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Contact: Dena Matteson, 573-323-8028
VAN BUREN, MO:Ozark National Scenic Riverways is one of 113 national parks selected to receive a 2015-2016 field trip grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks. Grant funds will be used to help fund the Riverways' annual Junior Ranger Day and to pay for bus transportation for field trips to the park.Last year's transportation grant funded a variety of presentations and supplies for the Junior Ranger Day event at Alley Spring, and paid for busing for approximately 500 students from six area school districts to attend the event who might not have been able to otherwise.This year, in addition to Junior Ranger Day, grant funds will also be used to cover transportation costs for ranger-led field trips at any location in the park.
As part of the National Park Foundation's Open OutDoors for Kids program, this grant (funded in part by Disney) provides funding for materials and logistics to make national park field trips, citizen science projects, Junior Ranger activities, experiential learning opportunities, and more possible.
Including this year's grantees, National Park Foundation grants have made it possible for more than 300,000 students to visit national parks.
"Through programs like Open OutDoors for Kids and the Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque movement, we are creating the next generation of park stewards, connecting youth across the country to these special places and inspiring their natural curiosity and love for them," said Will Shafroth, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation. "We are grateful to all of our partners, including Disney, that make such programs possible and help more people find their park."
"By sharing parks with kids at such a young age, we're building a strong generation of park stewards who will care for and protect these treasured places into the next 100 years," said Jonathan B. Jarvis, director of the National Park Service. "Thanks to our philanthropic partner, the National Park Foundation, we're able to strengthen and enrich our parks through the lasting bond these experiences foster.""We're pleased that Ozark National Scenic Riverways was selected as a recipient for this transportation grant," said Riverways superintendent Larry Johnson."During the 2016 Centennial celebration, the National Park Service has made it a priority to provide opportunities for all 4th grade students to visit a national park. At Ozark Riverways, we want to extend the opportunity for local students in every grade to experience a field trip to the park this year, and we don't want a shortage of funds for transportation to be an obstacle."
Ozark Riverways' annual Junior Ranger Day event is scheduled for April 29, 2016, at Alley Spring.The event brings 2nd-5th grade students together with educators from statewide natural resources agencies for a fun, active, and exciting day of outdoor educational activities.The event emphasizes the importance of our natural resources and gives students exposure to outdoor recreational activities that will encourage them to explore and enjoy the Ozarks.Transportation grant funds are available to pay for bus transportation to the Junior Ranger Day event, and for regular field trips to Big Spring, Alley Spring, and Round Spring this year.
For the full list of park grantees, and their projects, visit www.nationalparks.org/ticket-adventure.
Since 2014, Disney has been the lead sponsor of Open OutDoors for Kids, helping youth experience a national park, many of them for the first time.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 409 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at: www.nps.gov.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America's national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service.Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards.Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.
Ozark National Scenic Riverways preserves the free-flowing Current and Jacks Fork Rivers, the surrounding resources, and the unique cultural heritage of the Ozark people.