In celebration of National Park Week, the National Park Foundation – the official charity of America’s national parks – today received a $500,000 grant from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund to help connect kids to nature through America’s national parks. Disney’s investment will go specifically to the National Park Foundation’s “Ticket to Ride” program, which helps students explore the outdoors by providing transportation to national parks around the country.
“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. “Disney’s support has helped make it possible for us to engage thousands of young people in life changing park experiences, and ultimately inspiring the next generation of park enthusiasts.”
Now in its second year and with continued support from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and Disney Friends for Change, “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. The grant from Disney will help more than 60,000 students to experience location-based learning in their local national parks this year.
For many students, the Ticket to Ride field trip will be 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
In addition to the grant, Disney’s Friends for Change – a program that inspires kids and families to make a positive impact on their world by helping people and the planet – developed a public service announcement (PSA) that will air on Disney Channel and Disney Online. The spot encourages kids and families to explore the outdoors, whether at a local, state, or national park. Disney Friends for Change also created an online action kit (disney.com/friends) that helps families plan a park visit in four easy steps and provides ideas on park activities ranging from hikes to wildlife exploration.
“The more kids are exposed to the great outdoors, the more they appreciate and understand the beauty and value of our natural resources, from our national parks to our own backyards,” said Leslie Goodman , senior vice president of Disney Corporate Citizenship. “Disney is proud to work in collaboration with National Park Foundation to make a park experience possible for tens of thousands of young people. We hope that these outdoor adventures inspire lifelong conservation values.”
For more information about Ticket to Ride, corporate partners and ways to support this and the other exceptional National Park Foundation programs, go to www.nationalparks.org.