OVER 50,000 IN 45 STATES SIGN UP TO PLAY IN AND APPRECIATE LOCAL, STATE AND NATIONAL PARKS; ENTHUSIASM SPREADS FROM KIDS TO MAYORS TO GOVERNORS
Partners Include American Academy of Pediatrics, Department of Interior's Youth in the Great Outdoors, National Education Association, America's State Parks, National Geographic Kids, Western Governors' Association, National Recreation and Park Association
ROCKVILLE, Md., April 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Children nationwide will take part in a growing grassroots movement to celebrate America's parks through play on Saturday, May 19, as they participate in National Park Trust's (NPT) Second Annual National Kids to Parks Day.
With three weeks to go before the Second Annual National Kids to Parks Day, National Park Trust reports 50,000 registrants in 45 states have pledged to participate , 219 cities and towns have passed resolutions and the governors of Colorado, Washington and West Virginia have signed proclamations declaring May 19 National Kids to Parks Day. Families can join the fun and sign up online at NPT's web site www.kidstoparks.org.
State of Washington Governor Christine O. Gregoire, who is Chair of the Western Governors' Association, believes encouraging families to get outdoors and visit America's parks will introduce a new generation to our country's outdoor treasures. "By launching National Kids to Parks Day, National Park Trust is inviting families to engage the outdoors, similar to what we have done by encouraging families to Get Out West!, and enjoy the natural beauty and adventure in our parks."
Recognizing that young people spend far too much time indoors and far too little time appreciating and preserving America's magnificent national, state and local parks – the National Park Trust is mobilizing kids across the country for a nationwide park play-in. The new website, www.kidstoparks.org, is interactive with links to park activities nationwide and provides a toolkit of ideas and activities for children, families and educators.
"National Kids to Parks Day encourages children across America to get out and play. This simple idea of playing in a park can potentially give millions of kids the reason to get active and get outside just as families prepare for summer," said Grace Lee, executive director of National Park Trust. "In one year, participation has tripled with children, families, educators, and politicians jumping in to support parks and come together in joyful and active outdoor fun. We hope that by playing in parks the next generation will be empowered to protect and preserve our parks."
One of NPT's newest partners, National Geographic Kids has recently published the Kids' National Parks Guide U.S.A. "National Parks are America's playgrounds so we're excited to celebrate National Kids to Parks Day with information on our kids.nationalgeographic.com website and our National Geographic Parks app," said Jennifer Emmett, editorial director, National Geographic Kids books.
National Kids to Parks Day is the signature event of NPT's popular educational program Where's Buddy Bison Been?® Through its mascot Buddy Bison, NPT encourages children to "Explore outdoors, the parks are yours!" Thirty schools in 12 states and Washington D.C. participate in the Buddy Bison educational program, which includes outdoor lesson ideas, activities and games. In 2012 NPT launched the National Kids to Parks Day School Contest with NPT awarding scholarships to 32 classrooms, 959 children in 13 states, to put their ideas into action to visit, learn and play in their local, regional and national parks and celebrate the day.
National Kids to Parks Day has been endorsed by Department of the Interior's Youth in the Great Outdoors, American Academy of Pediatrics, National Education Association, Western Governors' Association, Children's National Medical Center, Boy Scouts of America, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, America's State Parks, National Recreation and Park Association, Children & Nature Network, and the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition in support of the First Lady's Let Move Outside! initiative.
Families have three weeks to sign up to be counted in the national tally at www.kidstoparks.org. When they visit a park on May 19, kids can tweet or send in photos to firstname.lastname@example.org to have their pictures posted online on a national map commemorating the day. Also available online: park activities and ideas for family fun.
ABOUT NATIONAL PARK TRUST
National Park Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of our nation's critical parks and reconnecting our youth – especially those that are underserved – to nature. As people spend more time indoors and as successive generations grow up with less of a connection to nature, NPT wants to build greater awareness and appreciation for the importance of our country's parks. To achieve this, NPT is preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow (www.parktrust.org).
VISION: Everyone will have an American Park Experience
MISSION: Preserving parks today; creating park stewards for tomorrow
SOURCE National Park Trust