Kids in Parks

Jul 26, 2017 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team


Summertime is a wonderful time of the year. It’s a time of rest and rejuvenation. It’s a span of time when children find themselves unburdened with homework and instead have plenty of opportunities to explore the great outdoors. Unfortunately, many of them aren’t. Choosing to remain inside, they too often engage not with the outdoors, but with their electronics. It’s endemic to our culture, and the diagnosis is Nature Deficit Disorder, a term coined by Richard Louv in his book, Last Child in the Woods, to describe the modern child’s lack of familiarity with the natural world.

Fortunately, there is a remedy to these summer doldrums. The National Park Service offers a wonderful program targeted towards fourth-grade students and their families called Kids in Parks. Fourth-grade teachers, as well as other adults who work with fourth-grade children such as homeschool co-op leaders, youth group leaders, and camp directors, can also avail themselves of this program. It provides free access to hundreds of parks, lands, and waters for a full year!

An ongoing program, it renews September 1 and runs through August 31. Enrollment for the upcoming year is happening now. Regardless of where you live in the vast United States, there are park locations near you to explore. Plan a trip to view protected animals, visit the woods, go to a park, or explore other locations near you. From California’s Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge to New York’s Ellis Island National Monument and everywhere in between, there are ample opportunities for exploration. Now is a perfect time to sign up!

Kick those summer doldrums to the curb, cast off Nature Deficit Disorder, and sally forth into the great outdoors with your pass to explore America’s wonderful parks. A year of adventure awaits!

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