Fredonia Elementary and Kanab Elementary Schools are each one of 186 sites recently selected to receive a field trip grant from the National Park Foundation for the 2015-2016 school year in support of the White House youth initiative Every Kid in a Park.

As the official charity of America’s national parks, the foundation officially made the announcement in December. A full list of grantees and their projects may be found at http://www.nationalparks.org/ook/every-kid-in-a-park. Leading up to this year’s 100th birthday of the National Park Service (NPS), President Obama announced the Every Kid in a Park initiative in 2015 as a call to action to get fourth graders outdoors spending time with nature, family and friends.

Specific to fourth graders, the Forest Service and other land and resource management agencies already have conservation education programs in place to connect nine to 11 year old children to learn about landscapes surrounding their homes and schools. Every Kid in a Park aligns well with these education programs.

Shortly after the program’s announcement in September, representatives from the North Kaibab Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest, Bureau of Land Management Kanab Field Office, Grand Staircase Escalante Partners, and the National Park Service’s Pipe Spring National Monument partnered together to visit fourth graders at schools in Fredonia, Colorado City, Centennial Park, Hildale and Kanab, to generate support for the program.

During these visits, each fourth grade student was given a one year Every Kid in a Park pass, providing the student and anyone accompanying them in the vehicle with free entry to hundreds of parks, forests and sites across the country. In addition to the Every Kid in a Park pass, the National Park Foundation awarded grants to both schools in December. 

Grant funding will provide field trip opportunities for each fourth grade class to participate in three field trips during the 2015-2016 school year; one each hosted by the North Kaibab Ranger District, Bureau of Land Management Kanab Field Office, and Pipe Spring National Monument. The funding will be used to provide schools with transportation, learning materials and meals.

“We are excited to have this opportunity available to our fourth graders here in Kanab and Fredonia,” said Wildlife Biologist Lisa Church, Bureau of Land Management, Kanab Field Office. “Anytime we can motivate students and teachers to get outside and enjoy nature, it helps the children better understand how they can care for and protect the natural treasures that we have right here in our own backyards for future generations to also someday appreciate.”

Church assisted with the grant application process, resulting in $3,700 being awarded to the Kanab fourth grade class and $9,000 to the Fredonia fourth grade class.

“The Every Kid in a Park program has been a great benefit for our students, especially when you consider our location,” said Fredonia Elementary School Principal Joe B. Wright. “Being surrounded by multiple parks and forests, this program provides even greater accessibility for our fourth graders and their families. We sincerely appreciate the federal employees who have spent time working cooperatively with Fredonia Elementary School. Our students are very excited about the grant funded field trips that will be coming up in the next few months.”

National Park Foundation grants have made it possible for more than 400,000 students (including this year’s grantees) to visit national parks and other public lands and waters.