National parks free to fourth-graders

Any fourth-grader in the United States can get free access to national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and other federal lands by signing up with the National Parks Foundation. (CONTRIBUTED)
Any fourth-grader in the United States can get free access to national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and other federal lands by signing up with the National Parks Foundation. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Madison City Schools has announced a new program, “Every Kid in a Park,” from the National Parks Foundation that encourages students to spend time outdoors.

Any fourth-grader in the United States can get free access to national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and other federal lands by signing up with the National Parks Foundation. This offer started on Sept. 1 and will continue through summer 2016.

In partnership with Federal Land Management agencies, the White House originated this initiative to promote families to enjoy the experience of visiting places that are home to this country’s natural treasures, rich history and vibrant culture … free of charge.

American citizens actually own millions of acres of national parks, historic structures, cultural artifacts, ancient forests, snow-capped mountains and clear blue lakes. Federal public lands and waters belong to all Americans and are waiting for exploration.

To get a pass for “Every Kid in a Park,” visit everykidinapark.gov, the official website where parents, educators and children can learn more. Organizers hope that every fourth-grade student will have the opportunity to experience federal public lands and waters in person throughout the 2015-2016 school year.

The “Every Kid in a Park” pass is valid for the 2015-2016 school year until Aug. 31, 2016.

In support of “Every Kid in a Park,” the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, is raising funds to help connect fourth-graders to these destinations with transportation grants.

With many schools facing funding cutbacks for field trips, this strategic funding will help provide comprehensive access to all federal sites. Transportation grants are available to the National Park Service, Forest Service, Department of Education, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

For more information, visit nationalparks.org/ook/every-kid-in-a-park.

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