Did you know that you own millions of acres of national parks, historic structures, cultural artifacts, ancient forests, snow-capped mountains, and clear blue lakes? Our public lands and waters belong to all Americans and are waiting for you to explore them!
To help engage and create our next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates, we are kicking off the Every Kid in a Park initiative. The immediate goal is to provide an opportunity for each and every 4th grade student across the country to experience their public lands and waters in person throughout the 2015-2016 school year.
Soon, you will have access to your own Every Kid in a Park pass. This pass will give you free access to national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, and more!
The Every Kid in a Park pass will be available for the 2015-2016 school year.
Every Kid in a Park joins the Foundation’s Open Outdoors for Kids program in helping children learn history, culture, and science while exploring the great outdoors. The initiative is an administration-wide effort among the National Park Service, Forest Service, Department of Education, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The place above is the Arlington County Outdoor Lab where I learned from Phoebe Hall Knipling how to teach outdoors. First she invited me out there and she kept teaching me trails, ecology , plants and animals of the place , until I was a skilled teacher.
The Phoebe Hall Knipling Outdoor Lab now is a 225-acre facility that provides science and outdoor education to the students of Arlington County Public Schools.
In this natural classroom, urban youth — often for the first time — can run in a meadow, climb a mountain, hike beside a stream, or fish in a pond. Four classes per week visit the Outdoor Lab, one of which has an overnight, and there are three week-long summer camps. Each year, the Outdoor Lab provides hands-on outdoor and environmental education to more than 9,000 students, from elementary grades through high school.
I was lucky to work there in the summers too.
Phoebe had us learning birding, weeds and wildflowers, and ecology.
Check out the raptor cams at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Visitors can view the osprey nest and bald eagle nest either online or from the refuge visitor center. Learn more on the raptor cams page.
I loved teaching students in the out of doors. It was a bonding time. Some parents and I made i t a gourmet eating time. Julie Mangis would help me whip up a menu and the kids loved what we cooked.
When technology came we created Outdoor News from the lab. We published our adventures, finds and activities.
We learned to read a stream in quadrant study. We learned to read the trails. We spent time in a stream, and we hiked Biscuit Mountain.
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is celebrating the life and history of Harriet Tubman, whose heroic actions helped many slaves escape to freedom on the Underground Railroad.
Each park or place has a history. At the Outdoor Lab we learned the history of the Civil War, explored the many springs, and hiked the trails we did story telling, and looked for patterns in nature. Stream study was one of the most exciting nature study programs.
We wrote our adventures to the computer and edited the adventures of the day to share with parents.
Julie Mangis and other parents helped create wonderful menus for our culinary experiences. while there and of course we ate S’mores. But we also used a big telescope to look at the night sky.
I like the fact that parents and community are involved because it can become a matter of habit.