Posted on October 14, 2015
By Jan Snyder
“Because no matter who you are, no matter where you live, our parks, our monuments, our lands, our waters – these places are your birthright as Americans.”
– President Barack Obama
This year begins a new exciting adventure for 4th grade students across the nation, along with their families. Through the Every Kid in a Park initiative, each student/family is eligible for a free parks pass that will allow them to enter, without cost, any national park, monument, reserve, lands or waters until August 31, 2016. (It does not cover additional fees such as camping, boats, or tours.) No matter where you live in the U.S. you are less than two hours from any of the 2,000 included sites!
Learn how the program works, get a pass, plan a trip, find teacher activities to support the initiative, and get tips for parents or guardians. Many school districts are creating wonderful teacher resources to support the initiative as well. Our neighboring school district, Portland Public Schools, has published a supporting website with teaching materials to support the Every Kid in a Park program.
Oregon City school libraries’ staff plans to be involved with this project all year. We will be printing individual passes for all 4th grade students in our district (each has a unique code.). As our elementary students visit the library weekly, one library class a month will be used at the 4th grade level to focus on a different national park. We have a variety of resources at our fingertips to help with this process:
- Through our suite of Gale databases, available statewide, we have access to National Geographic Kids. Within this database, there is the “Mysteries in Our National Parks” series, which includes 12 fiction titles. There are some non-fiction eBooks as well. They include National Parks Guide USA: The Most Amazing Sights, Scenes, and Cool Activities From Coast to Coast and Get Outside: All Things Adventure, Exploration, and Fun! All titles are unlimited, simultaneous user eBooks.
- Accessing information from Kids InfoBits! Included is a fabulous series of photos of the parks, short articles from the Britannica Student Encyclopedia, and many, many magazine and news articles.
- An eBook series called “Road Trip: National Parks”, published by Gareth Stevens, c2016. Some libraries also ordered a hard copy of the set.
- “Adventures with the Parkers” an eBook set of stories where each title includes not only a story, but also photos and facts about the featured park providing a great mix of fiction and non-fiction information.
With our Gale resources, and a small amount of money for additional eBook titles, we’re poised to help 4th graders get EXCITED about visiting national sites this next year. I foresee lots of family vacations, day trips, and exciting weekends in their future, to be sure!
Jan Snyder has been a librarian for more than 40 years. As district librarian of her school district over the last 25 years, she has seen many changes–most of them exciting. She has a passion for curriculum development. When not creating digital curriculum content for teachers and students or facilitating her many libraries, she loves taking pictures, reading her Nook, and working with wool appliqué.
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