RELEASE: Every Kid Outdoors Act Passes the U.S. Senate

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Contact: April Thomas, 206.321.3850, contact@outdoorsallianceforkids.org

Every Kid Outdoors Act Passes the U.S. Senate
Bill Ensures that Program to Allow Fourth Graders to Visit National Parks Will Continue

Washington, D.C.– Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed the Every Kid Outdoors Act as part of the Natural Resources Management Act (S. 47). The bill now moves on to the House of Representative for House consideration.

The Every Kid Outdoors Act provides seven year authorization for the Every Kid in a Park program, an Obama-era initiative that has provided passes to visit our national parks to over 2 million fourth graders since its inception. The program was threatened with cancellation several times by the Department of the Interior, and even singled out by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke for termination.

“Thank you to the dozens of organizations who acted to protect this vital program, and to the tens of thousands of people across the country who voiced their support, including over one thousand kids who signed postcards about the value of the program. I’m grateful to see our elected leaders come together in this time of division and create a bipartisan bill to make sure every fourth grader in the U.S. has the chance to visit one of their national parks and become a lifelong advocate for conservation.” –  Jackie Ostfeld, Director of Sierra Club Outdoors and Chair of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids

“The Every Kid Outdoors Act is great, low cost way to connect children and their families to America’s parks, forests, refuges and other public lands and waters. The Outdoors Alliance for Kids thanks Representatives DeGette, Tipton, Quigley, Stefanik, Lynch and Graves for their leadership in making this popular program permanent.” — Paul Sanford, Vice Chair of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids.

“The Alliance for Childhood is thrilled about the reintroduction of the Every Kid Outdoors Act and appreciates the commitment of Congresswoman DeGette and all of the co-sponsors supporting this legislation. This bill will help ensure equitable opportunities for fourth graders to experience active, child-directed play in our natural world. Anchoring the Every Kid in a Park program with legislation will support life changing developmental opportunities for the children who need it most.” – Linda Rhoads, Executive Director of Alliance for Childhood

“Seed Your Future wholeheartedly supports the Every Kid Outdoors Act, and all programs that encourage kids and families to learn about, enjoy and play together in the natural world. For the next generation to appreciate, preserve and protect our parks – and consider careers in the industry — they need frequent, affordable opportunities to discover the joys of nature. We encourage the swift passage of the EKO Act and continuing the opportunities to connect young people with a world that fosters their creativity, provides physical and mental health benefits, and helps them understand the world that provides life, food and wonder.” – Susan E. Yoder, Executive Director, Seed Your Future.

“At NRPA, we believe everyone deserves a great park. That’s why we’re proud to support the ‘Every Kid Outdoors Act,’ which increases access to parks and open space for children nationwide. Thank you to Congress for introducing this important piece of legislation. Increased access to parks provides communities everywhere with greater health and wellness opportunities, and a better understanding of the value of conservation.” – Barbara Tulipane, CAE, National Recreation and Park Association, President and CEO.

“On behalf of 4th graders and their families across the country, we support the passage of the Every Kid Outdoors Act. Through our national Buddy Bison Program and our work with hundreds of teachers across the country, we have seen first hand how powerful this program is in providing an “access trail” for children, especially those who live in under-resourced communities. These children are our future outdoor enthusiasts and advocates of these important landscapes and historic and cultural sites.” Grace Lee, Executive Director, National Park Trust

“As the largest residential education partner of the National Park Service, NatureBridge’s mission is to connect young people to the wonder and science of the outdoors. The Every Kid Outdoors Act is an extension of that mission, and we support any opportunity to connect even more kids to the natural world.”  Autumn Saxton-Ross, PhD, Director, Mid Atlantic, NatureBridge

“Wilderness Inquiry applauds the reintroduction of the Every Kids Outdoors Act.  We know the power of bringing people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities into our National Parks, and through this legislation thousands of young people will get the opportunity experience these special places firsthand.” Greg Lais, Executive Director Wilderness Inquiry.

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About the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK): OAK is a national strategic partnership of organizations from diverse sectors with a common interest in connecting children, youth and families with the outdoors. The members of OAK are brought together by the belief that the wellness of current and future generations, the health of our planet and communities and the economy of the future depend on humans having a personal, direct and life-long relationship with nature and the outdoors. OAK brings together nearly 100 businesses and organizations, representing more than 60 million individuals to address the growing divide between children, youth and the natural world. For more information: www.outdoorsallianceforkids.org