Recognizing the importance of introducing a new generation to our National Wildlife Refuges and National Parks and other special places, a federal initiative is underway to give every 4th-grader in the nation an "Every Kid in a Park" pass. The pass gives 4th-graders and their families free admission to all of our federal lands and waters for a full year. This year, working with the Palm Beach County School District, we applied for and received a $9,000 transportation grant from the National Park Foundation to pay for buses to bring 4th-graders out to the Refuge on field trips.
Every year Palm Beach County schools schedule field trips to the Refuge to help teach students the importance of the Everglades and to experience it for themselves, but every year a number of those trips must be cancelled due to insufficient county funding. At $200 per bus, and 30 students per bus, this $9,000 will give 1,350 students a memorable hands-on educational experience they would not otherwise have had. With 183,000 students in 185 county schools, not every student will have this opportunity, but like those starfish on the beach, we can make a difference for those who do.
The Friends are actively pursuing grant funding to make these trips possible for more school kids. You, too, can help. You can make a donation at www. loxahatcheefriends.com/contributions/contributions.shtml. $20 = 3 students; $200 = 1 bus of 30 students. Specify "field trips" and we will make sure your contribution in its entirety is used for just that purpose.