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January 23
1882 - Author Helen Hunt Jackson arrives at Rancho Camulos; inspiration for "Ramona" novel [story]


| Thursday, Sep 1, 2016
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[Dept. of Interior] – As part of President Obama’s commitment to protect our nation’s unique outdoor spaces and ensure that every American has the opportunity to visit and enjoy them, on Thursday the Obama Administration launched the second year of the Every Kid in a Park program, which gives fourth graders and their families free access to federal lands and waters nationwide for a full year.

Fourth graders can visit the Every Kid in a Park website to obtain a free pass that provides access to federally managed lands and waters – including national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and marine sanctuaries. The pass – which features a new design for this year’s students – is valid fromSeptember 1, 2016 through August 31, 2017 and grants free entry for fourth graders and up to three accompanying adults (or an entire non-commerical vehicle for drive-in parks) at more than 2,000 sites across the country.

“Over the past year, we have been able to introduce fourth graders and their families from all over the country to America’s incredible national parks and public lands through the Every Kid in a Park initiative,” said Christy Goldfuss, Managing Director at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “As we continue to build the next generation of outdoor stewards, we want to ensure that the pass inspires every American – kids, parents, students, teachers and more – to experience the incredible natural resources and historic sites that our country has to offer.”

“The Every Kid in a Park program is unlocking natural curiosity in children by encouraging them to explore our nation’s most spectacular places,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “We’re excited to welcome this year’s fourth graders and their families to our nation’s diverse parks, public lands and waters. From feeling the spray of a waterfall on their faces to peering at animals in their natural settings to understanding our rich history and culture, introducing children to their public lands can inspire a deep, lifelong connection to our country.”

The Every Kid in a Park program continues this year as a call to action for all children to experience America’s spectacular outdoors, rich history and culture. Today, more than 80 percent of American families live in urban areas, and many lack easy access to outdoor spaces.

By introducing fourth graders to public lands in their backyards and beyond at an impressionable age, Every Kid in a Park is part of a multi-pronged approach to inspire the next generation to discover all that our nation’s public lands and waters have to offer, including opportunities to be active, spend time with friends and family, and serve as living classrooms to build critical skills.

Fourth graders can log onto the Every Kid website at www.everykidinapark.gov and complete a fun educational activity in order to obtain and print their pass. Students can also trade in their paper pass for a more durable pass at participating federal sites nationwide.

Visitors to the expanded website will find several new features this year. Educators and community leaders can access educational activities, field trip options, information and tools in English and Spanish, and have the ability to print passes for their classrooms. Parents can find additional links to plan trips to nearby public lands. The website also contains a toolkit with resources for planning field trips, along with an extended list of public lands and waters to consider for field trips.

The Every Kid in a Park program will continue each year with the new class 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, inspiring the next generation to be stewards of our nation’s shared natural and cultural heritage.

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

The program is part of an overall strategy by the Obama Administration to engage young people from all ages and all backgrounds with the great outdoors. This strategy includes the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, a bold national effort to put thousands of young people and veterans to work protecting, restoring and enhancing America’s public lands and waters. In addition, First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Outside initiative is committed to getting millions of young people to play, learn, serve and work in America’s great outdoors.

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