As we recently mentioned, the NPS celebrated its 99th birthday this year, which means, of course, that the big 100 is coming right up! To celebrate 100 years of America’s Best Idea, President Obama developed two initiatives: Find Your Park and Every Kid in a Park! The goal of the Every Kid in a Park initiative is to inspire children to visit one of the 408 national park units this year. And to sweeten the pot even more, all 4th graders in the country are eligible to get a FREE national parks pass good for their whole family, providing access to all federal parks lands and waters through August 31, 2016.
The program went live on September 1st, and there are two ways the students can get their passes. One way is to complete an online module that’s in a very easy choose-your-own-adventure style format. Once the child has completed the module, he or she will print out a voucher with a unique ID # which can be used at any national park unit. The other way is to have a teacher or librarian enroll all the students in his or her 4th grade class(es) and print the vouchers for the students. This is very easy for the adult to do. The only data a teacher needs to enter is how many students he or she has. The program is also open to home-schooled students.
At my school we’re going to be diving deeply into the national parks by creating units of study where students explore the parks for the next several months. As a national park lover and a librarian, this is really exciting! If you’re an educator who’s interested in getting involved, check out the website put together by several Portland Public Schools librarians: teachnps.weebly.com.
This is an incredible and unique opportunity which we hope will inspire many families to visit national parks this year. Have a fourth grader in your family? Know someone who does? Or do you know a 4th grade teacher or an elementary school librarian? Please forward this blog post to them. Share it on your Facebook. Tweet it to your tweeps.
Spread the word, and let’s get every kid in a park. Enjoy your next visit to a national park, whether it’s for a week or a weekend!