I-GO: Google Donates $165k to Send Fourth Graders to National Parks

Google Donates $165k to Send Fourth Graders to National Parks
By Kyle Feldscher, Washington Examiner

Google has donated $165,000 to send about 1,700 children to national parks around the country as a part of the National Park Foundation's efforts to get more kids into the parks.

The donation was made to the National Park Foundation's Open OutDoors for Kids program. It supports the National Park Service's Every Kid In A Park initiative, which allows every fourth grader in the country to get a pass for free entry to National Park Service lands for a year.

However, some of those kids don't have easy transportation to get to those parks, and Google's donation will help them get to famous parks in California, Washington, Ohio, Wyoming and Tennessee.

The donation, announced Saturday, will help bring kids to national parks in those states for multi-day environmental education programs, said Darcy Nothnagle, Google's head of external affairs in the Northwest.

"Google has always made it a priority to help students discover the world — one way is through technology like Google Expeditions that allow students to travel the world in virtual reality," she said. "This grant is the next step, helping students visit parks in person to experience the outdoors throughout the country."

The technology giant will send kids to either a multi-day trip to Yosemite National Park; multi-day trips at each of Golden Gate National Recreation Area in California, Olympic National Park in Washington and Prince William Forest Park in Virginia; trips to the Southern California national parks; a residential learning program at Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio; an environmental science program at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming; or an outdoor education program at Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee.

According to the administration, donations to the program have allowed about 500,000 fourth graders attend field trips to National Park Service lands in the last two years. The goal is for the program to continue with every new fourth grade class and, in 10 more years, have every American child spend some time in a national park.