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Classified in: Tourism and vacations, Environment, Sports and recreation
Subjects: NPT, CHI

National Park Foundation Funds New and Expanded Learning Opportunities to Connect Kids to Parks


NEARLY $3 MILLION IN GRANTS WILL SUPPORT PROGRAMS COMBINING IN-PERSON, VIRTUAL AND HYBRID PARK EXPERIENCES FOR STUDENTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY  

WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Park Foundation (NPF) is excited to announce funding for 84 new Open OutDoors for Kids grants focused on leveraging technology to engage and connect more children and classrooms to meaningful learning experiences provided by parks. Funding will support innovative educational programs at national parks across the country that integrate virtual and in-park ranger-led experiences.

"National parks are America's largest classrooms, offering new and expanded learning opportunities for students," said National Park Foundation President and CEO Will Shafroth. "Open OutDoors for Kids grantees are pioneering the ways kids and classrooms connect with national parks and experience -- both in-person and virtually  -- the wonder and complexities of nature and history."

Open OutDoors for Kids grants will help to meet the increasing demand for popular virtual and hybrid programs, providing unique educational activities that connect kids to parks across the country.

"Each national park is related to a part of our national identity and park educational programs bring history, civics, science and the arts to life for students," said National Park Service Director Chuck Sams. "The increase in virtual options for field trips provided by these grants will enable teachers and students anywhere in the country to travel to national parks, regardless of location, for engaging and inspiring curriculum-based programs."

This school year, NPF is partnering with the National Park Service and other community partners to expand opportunities for students to explore park landscapes and historical sites, connecting kids to the many diverse stories our national parks preserve and share. A sampling of programs supported by NPF grants includes:

Thanks to partners and donors, NPF is investing nearly $3 million in its Open OutDoors for Kids program in fiscal year 2023, including support from Youth Engagement and Education premier partner Union Pacific Railroad.

"Union Pacific is proud to help connect young people to the historical and cultural treasures found in our national parks," said Scott Moore, Senior Vice President, Corporate Relations, and Chief Administrative Officer for Union Pacific.  "Open OutDoors for Kids gives children a hands-on learning experience in the great outdoors and instills in them a deeper understanding of our country's rich history and natural beauty that encourages exploration and appreciation for nature."

Additional funding is provided by Alicia and Peter Pond, Columbia Sportswear, Sierra, Parks Project, Humana, The Batchelor Foundation, Inc., and many other donors.

Open OutDoors for Kids, part of NPF's Youth Engagement and Education Initiative, is making park educational experiences more accessible for all people with a specific focus on children who live in communities that are striving to overcome a lack of resources to offer innovative learning opportunities for students.i

Since 2011, NPF has engaged more than one million students in educational programs connecting them with national parks across the country with the goal to connect another one million students to parks by the end of the 2024-25 school year.

View the full list of NPF Open OutDoors for Kids grantee projects for the 2022/2023 school year.

Individuals, foundations, and companies can support NPF's Open OutDoors for Kids program by visiting the National Park Foundation website.  

ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION

The National Park Foundation works to protect wildlife and park lands, preserve history and culture, educate, and engage youth, and connect people everywhere to the wonder of parks. We do it in collaboration with the National Park Service, the park partner community, and with the generous support of donors, without whom our work would not be possible. Learn more at nationalparks.org.

Endnote

i The majority of funding for this program supports fourth grade students at Title I schools. These schools receive financial assistance through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to help ensure students have the resources to meet academic standards. Nationally, school districts in high-poverty communities have the highest total Title I allocations per eligible student. Schools in these communities are less likely to have the resources to engage national parks and outdoor education into student curriculum.

SOURCE National Park Foundation


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News published on 22 november 2022 at 10:00 and distributed by: