Santa Fe Public Schools Fourth Graders Receive Free Passes to the Great Outdoors

Santa Fe, NM – Oct. 23, 2020 – For the third year in a row, the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) and the Santa Fe Public Schools (SFPS) collaborated to put an “Every Kid Outdoors” pass in every fourth grader’s hand, giving the students and their families free access to hundreds of national forests, parks and waters over the 2020-2021 school year.

The COVID-19 pandemic and a virtual learning environment pose some challenges but are not stopping the distribution of passes. Fourth graders are receiving passes through school distributions, hybrid learning and direct mailings. “We are urging our families to safely visit their beautiful public lands, especially to support our students’ physical and mental well-being outside,” said Elena Kayak, SFPS Sustainability Program Specialist.

The federal Every Kid Outdoors initiative encourages kids to explore, learn and play in America’s great outdoors. The program targets fourth graders so every child in America has the opportunity to visit national forests, parks and historic sites by the age of 11. The SFNF issued more than 1,000 passes to 20 SFPS elementary schools.

“Every Kid Outdoors is designed to create a lifelong passion for the great outdoors by giving every fourth-grader the opportunity to spend time in the woods, on a river, visiting a national park,” SFNF Supervisor James Melonas said. “This year, when families are under unprecedented stress due to COVID, the very real physical and emotional benefits of exploring nature are even more important.”

Equivalent to the Interagency Annual Passes which sell for $80, the Every Kid Outdoors passes admit fourth graders and their families to National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service sites that charge entrance fees. The pass also covers standard amenity fees at Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and US Army Corps of Engineers sites. The pass does not cover expanded amenity fees such as camping, boat launch or special tours. Sites managed by private operators may not honor the pass, so it is advisable to check with the site in advance.

"The opportunity to learn and explore nature and our outstanding open spaces is more important than ever. Students will benefit from the hands-on learning outside of the classroom that can be had by experiencing nature in person," SFPS Superintendent Dr. Veronica C. Garcia said.

Every fourth grader in America can obtain an Every Kid Outdoors pass. Individual paper passes with a unique code can be obtained through the Every Kid Outdoors website and printed from a computer.

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