National Park Service kicks off Every Kid in a Park project


Calling all fourth graders. Death Valley National Park wants you to come down and take part in the Every Kid in a Park program.

The program provides fourth grade students and accompanying adults free access to more than 2,000 public lands and waters throughout the U.S. for one year.

With Death Valley National Park being one of the closest NPS destinations in the area, area fourth graders can take advantage of various offers and opportunities for students to explore the park like the Junior Ranger program, the Hike Death Valley program, night sky programs, and ranger-led field trips.

“We are excited to continue to welcome fourth grade students, their classes, and their families to experience Death Valley National Park’s wonders and mysteries,” said Brandi Stewart, Death Valley National Park education coordinator.

“Death Valley is a place of challenge, beauty, and amazement. We hope the students will get outside and discover something here that speaks to them.”

In the 2015-16 school year, Death Valley National Park’s education staff conducted 21 classroom visits and hosted 36 field trip groups.

“We served 1,551 students last year,” said Ranger Stewart. “We’d love to reach even more this school year.” The Every Kid in a Park pass, which features an updated design for this year’s crop of students, is valid for a full calendar year starting Sept. 1.

The pass grants free entry for fourth graders and up to three accompanying adults (or an entire car for drive-in parks) to most federally-managed lands and waters, including national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and marine sanctuaries, the NPS said.

The Every Kid in a Park program is a multi-administration effort between the Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture, Department of the Army, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The newly-expanded Every Kid in a Park website has links to educational activities, trip planning, field trip options, the downloadable pass, and additional information in both English and Spanish. After completing a fun educational activity, the child can download and print a pass. The paper pass can be traded for a more durable pass at Death Valley National Park and other participating federal sites nationwide.

Every Kid in a Park is an important component of a multi-pronged approach to inspire the next generation to discover the variety that our nation’s public lands and waters have to offer. The components include opportunities to be active, spend time with friends and family, and serve as living classrooms to build critical skills.

The program continues each year with the then-current group of fourth graders. After 12 years, every school-age child in America will have had an opportunity to visit their public lands and waters for free, educating the next generation of our nation’s shared natural and cultural heritage.

For more information and to download the pass, visit www.everykidinapark.gov. Teachers interested in classroom programs or field trips to the park should contact the park’s education coordinator at brandi_stewart@nps.gov. Transportation grants may be available. More information on these programs can be found at www.nps.gov/deva.

Contact reporter Mick Akers at makers@pvtimes.com. Follow @mickakers on Tiwtter.