The Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA) and the nonprofit managing entity—the Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA)—received a $9,000 Open Outdoors for Kids grant for the 2019-2020 school year from the National Park Foundation (NPF), the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service. The NPF grant supports PHA’s Learning in Our Watershed™ program, which provides scholarships to schools in Larimer and Weld county to visit various locations throughout the CALA.
This grant from NPF is part of their Open OutDoors for Kids program, which creates pathways for kids to explore and connect with national park experiences. It is made possible through generous support of partners including Union Pacific Railroad and donors across the country.
Through this partnership with NPF, PHA will be able to provide scholarships that defray transportation and admission costs for approximately 25 schools and 3,000 children during the 2019-2020 school year. The field trip grants are still available on a first come, first served basis through PHA’s website: https://www.poudreheritage.org/field-trip-grants/.
Scholarship priority is given to 4th grade classrooms and Title I schools. Popular destinations within the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area include the Poudre Learning Center, Children’s Water Festivals in Greeley and Fort Collins, Centennial Village in Greeley, and the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. The Poudre Heritage Alliance also offers guided wellness walks as a way to explore the heritage area through this program.
A 4th grade teacher from Bauder Elementary had this to say about the Learning in Our Watershed program: “Your donation to fund this trip made it possible for our kids to only pay half the admission. As a Title I school, getting these kids real life experience is so important. Because of you we made that possible. Thank you.”
These initiatives are coordinated alongside the Department of the Interior’s Every Kid Outdoors program. The Every Kid Outdoors annual pass provides fourth grade students, along with their families, friends and classmates, free access to National Park sites, along with more than 2,000 other federal recreation areas for a year. The Every Kid Outdoors Program encourages fourth graders to explore, learn, and recreate in spectacular settings, including national parks, wildlife refuges, marine sanctuaries, and forests.
To obtain the free pass, fourth grade students visit the Every Kid Outdoors website, participate in a short educational activity, and download a voucher. The voucher is valid for multiple use between September 1, 2019 and August 31, 2020 to correspond to the traditional school year. The voucher may be exchanged for a plastic keepsake pass at participating federal lands.
The Every Kid Outdoors Program was established by Congress in 2019. It replaces the Every Kid in a Park Program which was launched in 2015. It is an interagency collaboration between the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and U.S. Forest Service.