WASHINGTON – The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, has awarded $474,140 in grants to 65 national parks through its 2014 Ticket to Ride program. Now in its third year, this program provides the much-needed funds to make national park field trips possible for schools across the country.
“We know that one of the greatest barriers keeping America’s youth from visiting their national parks is access to transportation,” said Neil Mulholland, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “Through our Ticket to Ride program, we eliminate that barrier and open up a world of experiential learning in our nation’s largest classrooms – our national parks – and help inspire stewardship of these treasured places.”
“For many students, the Ticket to Ride field trip will be their first visit to a national park,” said Jonathan B. Jarvis, director of the National Park Service. “Thanks to these National Park Foundation grants, young people will have the opportunity to connect with America’s natural, cultural, and historical heritage, and begin a lifelong relationship with their national parks.”
The field trips will be done in collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations, including schools, youth groups, and Friends Groups.
The 2014 Ticket to Ride grantees include:
Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
Students will participate in one of several in-park educational programs for their first time, strengthening their understanding of and appreciation for Blue Ridge Parkway and helping them connect to the entire National Park System. Depending on their grade level, students may experience first-hand Appalachian culture through traditional tools, bartering, music, and dance; explore geology and ecosystems and discover the story of plate tectonics and the creation of Blue Ridge Mountains; learn the role the park plays in preserving ecosystems as they explore a meadow, forest, and stream.
Brown V. Board of Education National Historic Site, Kansas
Students will rediscover Freedom's Pathway in Topeka, Kansas by experiencing the Underground Railroad at the historic Ritchie House, learning about Bleeding Kansas and the legislative process at the Kansas State Capitol, and exploring how segregation in America was demolished at Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site. From territorial conflicts over slavery to the beginning of the civil rights movement with Brown v. Board of Education, students will experience the rich history of Kansas.
Colorado National Monument, Colorado
Although Colorado National Monument is located only a few miles from the cities of Fruita and Grand Junction, many students in the local communities have never visited the park. Nearly 2,000 students from Title I schools will visit the park to engage in meaningful, hands-on educational opportunities to study the park's geologic wonders and ecological processes.
Devils Postpile National Monument, California
Staff from this national park and their partners will travel with 20-30 Paiute youth from their high desert home to Channel Islands National Park, an uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean. Here they will discover a national park new to each of them. They will learn about native plants, and specifically how those plants were/are used by the Chumash people. This project will also integrate multigenerational learning by engaging tribal elders, parents, grandparents, and other family members.
For the full list of park grantees, and their projects, visit the Ticket to Ride page on the National Park Foundation website.
The National Park Foundation wishes to thank Bayer USA Foundation, Disney, and Subaru of America for their generous support of the Ticket to Ride program.
For more information on the National Park Foundation and how to support and protect America’s national parks, please visit www.nationalparks.org. For more information on the National Park Service, please visit www.nps.gov.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at: www.nps.gov.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.