April 19, 2016
White House and Partners to Host “Every Kid in a Park” Event at Fort McHenry to Celebrate National Park Week
WHAT: During National Park Week, the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality, along with the City of Baltimore and other partner organizations, will celebrate the National Park Service’s centennial and the city’s commitment to connecting youth with parks and the outdoors. Hundreds of fourth graders will attend an “Every Kid in a Park” event at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine on Thursday, April 21, 2o16 at 10:00 a.m.
The students will learn about the city’s cultural and natural history by visiting Fort McHenry and the Star-Spangled Banner and Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trails. Other activities include learning how to pitch a tent, exploring the historic Star Fort, and hands on learning with the American Flag.
WHEN: Thursday, April 21, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. Press event will begin at 10:30 a.m.
WHERE: Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, 2400 E Fort Ave., Baltimore, MD 21230
WHO: Hundreds of fourth and eighth graders, the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality, City of Baltimore, National Parks Conservation Association, National Park Service, Outdoors Alliance for Kids, Sierra Club, Baltimore National Heritage Area, and Living Classrooms Foundation
WHY: The “Every Kid in a Park” initiative was launched by President Obama in 2015, and serves as a call to action to get all children to visit and enjoy America’s public lands and waters. Today, more than 80 percent of American families live in urban areas, and many lack easy access to safe outdoor spaces.
As a lead up to the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in August 2016, every fourth-grader in the nation can receive an “Every Kid in a Park” pass that’s good for free admission to all of America’s federal lands and waters – for them and their families – for a full year. This week the White House will announce the “Every Kid in a Park Campaign,” an initiative to make it easy for parents, teachers, and organizations to plan trips to more than 2,000 parks and Federal land and water sites.
“We’re so proud to partner with the White House to help ensure all children get an opportunity to visit our parks, especially in this centennial year of the National Park Service,” said Theresa Pierno, president and CEO of National Parks Conservation Association. “NPCA is organizing more than one hundred events and activities across the country this year as part of our Find Your Voice initiative, as we educate, engage and empower people. Today’s national park visitors could be tomorrow’s national park advocates. And we will need them to speak up for our parks to ensure they thrive well into their next century.”
“We’re so excited to host this event at the birthplace of the Star-Spangled Banner to celebrate National Park Week with our youngest Americans,” said Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine Superintendent Tina Cappetta.
“Every Kid in a Park is aligned perfectly with what Living Classrooms Foundation has been offering young people for more than 30 years,” said James Piper Bond, President & CEO, Living Classrooms Foundation. “Through hands-on STEM and environmental education programs that use urban, natural, and maritime settings as ‘living classrooms,’ we are able to connect inner-city youth and families to our environmental and historic assets, and ultimately make them better stewards of the natural world.”
“Today’s event is a reminder that the wild is where you find it. Whether a neighborhood park or a national park, we’re committed to making sure kids and communities have opportunities to get outdoors and enjoy America’s public lands and waters,” said Jackie Ostfeld, Sierra Club’s Nearby Nature Director and Outdoors Alliance for Kids Co-Founder and Chair. “It’s National Park Week and there’s no better time to get Every Kid in a Park.”
Celebrating National Park Week Throughout the City of Baltimore
In 2015, the Baltimore National Heritage Area received a special opportunities grant from the National Park Service office to connect more than 600 Baltimore City students with the outdoors through the “Kids in Kayaks” program. As part of today’s city-wide celebration eighth grade students from Baltimore City will be kayaking for the first time at Middle Branch Park, while also learning about local history and environmental stewardship. The heritage area partnered with the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, Star-Spangled Banner Flag House, Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks, the Baltimore City Public School System and the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore to plan and implement the program.
“The heritage area is extremely proud of how all of our partners have come together to create this wonderful life-changing experience for our city’s kids,” said Jeffrey Buchheit, Executive Director of the Baltimore National Heritage Area. “We are dedicated to not only sustaining this program, but growing it exponentially in the coming years.”
About Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine: Fort McHenry was constructed between 1799 and 1802 and became a national park site in 1925. During the War of 1812, British forces sailed to Baltimore, Maryland, intent on attacking the city. On the morning of September 13, 1814, the British navy attacked the fort for 25 hours. Francis Scott Key witnessed the bombardment from a ship in Baltimore harbor and expressed his gratitude and relief at the victory in a poem that became “The Star-Spangled Banner.”