This current school year Fort Larned National Historic Site has received a grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, to support the Every Kid in a Park (EKIP) program. The fort staff invites all fourth graders to enjoy their national park here in the heart of Kansas at this captivating historic place. The grant funds will help pay for most, or possibly all, the fuel costs for the buses that transport students. Fourth graders, in addition to other grades, will experience a unique education program that combines nature and history for a plethora of hands-on opportunities.
The original fort consists of nine original sandstone buildings surrounding a parade ground. Students will emerge themselves in the lifestyle of the 1860’s military when going inside the buildings. Park rangers will facilitate exploration of the different cultures that interacted upon the Santa Fe Trail and at the fort. The buildings are not the only resources that are protected and preserved. Besides the bank of the Pawnee River with woodlands the national park acreage includes the prairie and an oxbow which will be part of a nature program presented in the spring to the students. This spring field trip season at the fort will be packed with opportunities for learning and having fun.
“There’s so much to discover at Fort Larned NHS, and we’re excited to welcome fourth graders and teachers to participate in the hands-on learning activities. We hope that our young visitors can develop a lifelong connection to our nation’s history and natural resources,” says Superintendent Betty Boyko.
The Fort Larned NHS education staff prepares for most classes visiting in the spring, but every day is a good day to visit the fort – we even have rainy day activities. We encourage teachers and principals to make reservations soon. Private and parochial schools are invited to take advantage of the transportation grant provided they are utilizing buses. The grant is part of the Foundation’s Open OutDoors for Kids program. Fort Larned is a fee-free site, but the EKIP program gives fourth grade students, and those accompanying them, free access to more than 2,000 federally managed lands and waters. Visit www.EveryKidinaPark.gov to download the pass and obtain more information.
“These grants are planting the seeds for lifelong relationships with national parks and their programs,” said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation. “By providing access to transformative experiences like listening to the sound of birds chirping, walking the halls of a school that tell a civil rights story, looking up at a dark night sky, or pitching a tent with a friend for the first time, these children are forever impacted. We appreciate the power of national parks and, through our support, the National Park Foundation hopes to share them with as many kids as possible.”
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 participating federal sites nationwide.
Every Kid in a Park is 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. The program, now entering its second year, is a call to action for children to experience America’s spectacular outdoors, rich history and culture.
Every Kid in a Park is a crucial component 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.
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, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
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 land and waters for free, inspiring the next generation to be stewards of our nation’s shared natural and cultural heritage.
For more information, please visit www.everykidinapark.gov and follow the program on Twitter @everykidinapark, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. For additional information about Fort Larned National Historic Site please visit: www.nps.gov/fols or call 610-285-6911.