WASHINGTON—Ahead of National Park Week (April 20–28) when people everywhere will celebrate and enjoy our national parks, the National Park Foundation (NPF) — the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service — today announced its goal to connect 250,000 kids and adults to parks throughout 2019 via school field trips, service corps, volunteer efforts, and fellowships, thereby growing the community of national park champions who care about these treasured places.
Through NPF-supported programs across the country, students and their teachers will engage in educational field trips, young adults and veterans will have employment opportunities that help restore public lands, people of all ages will experience the joy of giving back through volunteer events, and emerging scholars will benefit from career development opportunities. All of these efforts are part of NPF’s broader work to connect people to and protect our National Park System.
Making it possible for people to experience parks will also help spur local economic growth. Surrounding communities will directly benefit from park visitation, with visits driving over $18 billion in visitor spending in 2017.
“When people experience the incredible power of national parks, they are moved to do what they can to help preserve them,” said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation. “Healthy and vibrant national parks need a strong community of champions supporting them and the National Park Foundation is committed to expanding that network.”
This goal includes funding for the National Park Foundation’s Open OutDoors for Kids program, which connects elementary school-aged youth to national parks through meaningful, educational, and engaging field trips. In addition, NPF is bolstering efforts to protect and preserve national parks by supporting service corps, which engage youth and veterans in projects like trail restoration to improve the visitor experience, and by funding the restoration of habitats rich with wildlife like Drakes Estero at Point Reyes National Seashore in the San Francisco Bay Area.
More information on how the National Park Foundation is protecting national parks and connecting people to them can be viewed here.
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 and connect all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.