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National Parks Foundation Wants to Get Texas Kids Outdoors

For Immediate Release: September 20, 2018

Big Thicket National Preserve Receives Open OutDoors for Kids Focus City Grant From the National Park Foundation

KOUNTZE, Texas, September 20, 2018– Big Thicket National Preserve and the City of Houston have been selected to receive an Open OutDoors for Kids Focus City grant for the 2018-2019 school year from the National Park Foundation, the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service. With this grant National Park Service staff can continue working with our partners to facilitate educational field trips for fourth grade students in the Greater Houston Area. By working together to introduce young people to the public lands around them, we can help create a happier and healthier community.

This grant is part of the Foundation’s Open OutDoors for Kids program which creates pathways for kids to explore and connect with park experiences. Beyond making field trips possible, the program raises local community awareness about the importance of connecting kids to the outdoors.

“Trekking along trails, observing our natural ecosystems and engaging with our shared history are experiences that benefit all children,” said National Park Foundation President Will Shafroth. “Making it possible for America’s youth to explore our national parks is an investment in their future and the future of the national parks community.”

Open OutDoors for Kids – Houston (formerly Every Kid in a Park – Houston) provides field trip transportation reimbursements for field trips taken by Title I, 4th classes to more than three dozen amazing Greater Houston Area outdoor spaces. Teachers can easily book a field trip with one of many national, state, and local park partners who provide a variety of curriculum-based natural, cultural, and historical field trips correlated with Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). More about this program can be found at https://www.hereinhouston.org/ekiphouston/.

Big Thicket National Preserve Superintendent Wayne Prokopetz said, “There’s so much to discover at Big Thicket, and we’re excited to welcome fourth graders and their families again this year. We hope that our young visitors learn and have fun in the great outdoors and develop a lifelong connection to our nation’s land, water and wildlife.”

For the full list of grantees and their projects, click here.

ABOUT BIG THICKET NATIONAL PRESERVE

Big Thicket National Preserve is located in Southeast Texas, near the city of Beaumont and 75 miles northeast of Houston. The preserve consists of nine land units and six water corridors encompassing more than 113,000 acres. The Big Thicket, often referred to as a “biological crossroads,” is a transition zone between four distinct vegetation types – the moist eastern hardwood forest, the southwestern desert, the southeastern swamp, and the central prairies. Species from all of these different vegetation types come together in the thicket, exhibiting a variety of vegetation and wildlife that has received global interest.

For general information about Big Thicket National Preserve, visit www.nps.gov/bith or call the preserve visitor center at 409-951-6700. Visit us on Facebook www.facebook.com/BigThicketNPS, Twitter www.twitter.com/BigThicketNPS, and Instagram www.instagram.com/BigThicketNPS.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION

Celebrating 50 years, 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 ENGAGE the next generation of park stewards. In 2016, commemorating the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, the Foundation launched The Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks, a comprehensive fundraising campaign to strengthen and enhance the future of these national treasures for the next hundred years. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.