New partnership will enable Hawai‘i fourth-graders to visit public lands
Cross-posted with the Department of Interior
As part of a new partnership with world-renowned musician, waterman and conservationist Jack Johnson, fourth-grade students in Hawai‘i will have a chance to visit national parks under the Every Kid in a Park program. Johnson, together with his wife Kim, have made a commitment via their Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation to fund $100,000 worth of field trip grants, with the goal of reaching all 17,000 fourth-grade students in the state of Hawai‘i. Kim and Jack Johnson founded the Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation in 2003 to support environmental education in Hawai‘i's schools and communities. In addition to the Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation, this partnership also involves the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Interior Michael L. Connor, U.S. Forest Service Associate Chief Mary Wagner, Jack Johnson and Senator Brian Schatz announced the partnership today during an Every Kid in a Park celebration at the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge on the North Shore of O‘ahu. The partnership supports the Every Kid in a Park program, an effort started by the White House to encourage fourth grade students to visit national parks and other federal lands and waters for free with their families and classes. Every Kid in Park recently released a video with Jack Johnson encouraging kids to visit their public lands.
“Thanks to Jack Johnson’s generous support and commitment to conservation, Hawai‘i’s fourth-graders will be able to visit the federal lands in their backyards,” said Deputy Secretary Michael Connor. “Through new and innovative partnerships like the one with the Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation, we’re helping as many fourth-graders as possible to get outside and build connections with their public lands and waters.”
Deputy Secretary Connor, Associate Chief Wagner and Jack Johnson helped more than 200 local fourth-graders as they participated in fun, hands-on activities including a marine debris beach cleanup, an albatross bolus dissection and native plant restoration. Students also learned about habitat preservation for endangered water birds, sea turtles, and even the yellow-faced bee. Each student also received an Every Kid in a Park annual pass that provides free entrance for them and their families at more than 2,000 federally managed lands and waters, including national parks, wildlife refuges, and national forests and grasslands. Today’s event was hosted in partnership with the Outdoors Alliance for Kids.
“Our children are among our most precious resources,” Associate Chief Mary Wagner said. “The generosity of Jack Johnson will go far beyond a school-bus ride to public lands. His offer to ensure that all fourth graders in Hawai‘i can connect to the natural world will no doubt spark the beginning of an indelible link to the outdoors.”
“It's when we visit new places that we are truly inspired to learn about them,” Johnson said. “What better way to expand the next generation’s knowledge of Hawai‘i's unique history, culture and environment than to encourage them to use all of their senses to explore the important sites around these islands.”
Jack Johnson grew up surfing and playing guitar on the North Shore of O‘ahu. Since 2001, his albums have sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. Johnson is a leader in the greening of the music industry as well as an advocate for environmental education, sustainable local food systems and plastic free initiatives through his Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation and Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation.
“Far too few kids have access to the natural world where they can have fun, get active and learn about their environment,” said Outdoors Alliance for Kids Co-Founder and Chair Jackie Ostfeld. “We are happy to support the effort here in Hawai‘i and across America to help increase the number of fourth graders who can visit their public lands, waters, and shores.”
Fourth graders can log onto the website at www.everykidinapark.gov and complete a fun educational activity in order to obtain and print their paper pass. Students may also trade in their paper pass for a more durable pass at participating federal sites nationwide.
The Every Kid in a Park program is a part of President Obama’s commitment to protect our nation’s unique outdoor spaces and provide every American with opportunities to visit and enjoy them. By introducing fourth graders to public lands, near and far, the program delivers a nationwide call to action to build the next generation of stewards of our country’s spectacular and diverse federal lands and waters.