Washington, D.C. – Responding to an overwhelming need for transportation and educational programming funding from parks and schools nationwide, the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, created the Ticket To Ride program.
With support from Disney, Ticket to Ride provides financial resources for transportation, in-park educational programming, and meals that make national park field trips possible for schools across the country. This year, WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument was selected to receive a Ticket to Ride grant in order to bring over 700 fifth grade students from underserved areas of Oahu to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Nationwide, over $230,000 in Ticket to Ride grants have made it possible for more than 30,000 students to experience their local national parks this fall.
The students are participating a three-part program titled “Let’s Talk (Hi)story,” focused on exploring personal connections to history and national parks. This exciting program began with ranger-led visits to each of the eight participating schools in September, featuring story-telling from NPS volunteer Jimmy Lee. Lee was in the fifth grade when he witnessed the December 7, 1941 attack. In October and November, students from 32 classrooms visited Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial, most for the first time. Through participating in this program, students have forged new connections and been inspired to explore the more personal side of history – not only through their local national park, but through a special oral history project they will complete with their own social networks at home.
“Providing the means for America’s youth to experience all that our national park system has to offer is imperative,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “The Ticket to Ride program makes it possible for us to engage the younger generation through the parks’ unique natural, cultural and historical classrooms, ultimately fostering an early love and appreciation for these important places.”
In addition to WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, the Fall 2012 Ticket to Ride grantees include:
Assateague Island National Seashore
Assateague Island National Seashore
Boston National Historical Park
Buck Island Reef National Monument
Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
Craters of the Moon National Monument and National Preserve
Devils Postpile National Monument
Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor
Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park
Homestead National Monument of America
Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial
Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park
Mississippi National River and Recreation Area
Moores Creek National Battlefield
National Mall and Memorial Parks
New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park
Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail
River Raisin National Battlefield Park
San Juan Island National Historical Park
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Stones River National Battlefield
Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts
For many students, the Ticket to Ride field trip was their first visit to a national park. Recognizing that once in the parks, a world of experiential learning opens up, the National Park Foundation and the National Park Service are dedicated to providing this critical access to the parks. Through these field trips, young people discover their natural, cultural and historical heritage, participate in volunteer and service-learning activities, enjoy recreational opportunities, and most importantly, begin a lifelong relationship with their national parks.
For more information about the Ticket to Ride program, our corporate partners and ways to support this and the other exceptional National Park Foundation programs, go to www.nationalparks.org