This year, Yellowstone has received two grants from the National Park Foundation, one sponsored by Disney.
The first grant, the 2013 “Ticket To Ride” grant, goes towards funding transportation, educational programming and meals for school trips into Yellowstone. Specifically, this grant is for Yellowstone’s Connecting Native American Youth to Yellowstone program. “Ticket to Ride” is supported by a grant from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, which provides transportation and program assistance in national parks all across the country.
Funding will go towards providing bus transportation for most of the 300 students and 65 teachers/chaperones from Native American schools who will participate in Expedition: Yellowstone! (a curriculum-based program for grades 4-8) or the ranger-led Yellowstone Field Trip Program, which runs from May 2013 to April 2014. The Yellowstone Park Foundation will support full or partial scholarships for many of the Expedition: Yellowstone! students.
Schools participating with Yellowstone in this venture include: St. Francis Indian School, South Dakota; Wyoming Indian Elementary School; Plenty Coups High School; Pryor Middle School; De La Salle Blackfeet School; Hardin Intermediate School; Hardin Middle School; Crow Agency School; and Lame Deer School, Montana.
“Ticket To Ride” will offer many of its participants their first trip into a national park. The Park hopes welcoming Native American youth to the park will strengthen ties between Yellowstone and the participating tribes. Through outdoor activities and place-based learning, the Park hopes to foster future visitation and stewardship of places in and beyond Yellowstone, as well as strengthen cultural/historical ties between Native Americans and Yellowstone.
The second grant, given to the Yellowstone Park Foundation by the National Park Foundation, is a 2013 America’s Best Idea Grant. The grant, inspired by Ken Burns’ documentary, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” funds programs intended to connect unconnected and unappreciated populations throughout the United States with the national parks.
The YPF will use the $15,000 grant to support Park Journeys, a program that brings together urban and rural youth into Yellowstone for a five day program centered around stewardship, leadership and academic potential. Last year’s pilot program brought out ten teens from Pittsburgh, PA. This year, three groups of teens from Cincinnati, OH; Pittsburgh, PA and Brockway, PA will visit Yellowstone. The program is a collaboration between the YPF, the Yellowstone Association and Pittsburgh’s Manchester Bidwell Corporation’s National Center for Arts and Technology.
“We are so pleased that the America’s Best Idea grant will allow Park Journeys to expand on last year’s success, and give more youth the opportunity to experience Yellowstone, one of the world’s finest outdoor classrooms, for the first time,” said Karen Bates Kress, Yellowstone Park Foundation President.
“One of the great things about our national parks is that every American can relate to these treasured places if given the chance to experience them,” said Jonathan B. Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service. “It’s our mission to engage visitors from all backgrounds in the diverse stories that we tell in our national parks. Thanks to the support of the National Park Foundation, we can propel that outreach, and engage new audiences that would otherwise never have the opportunity to experience a national park.”
“The America’s Best Idea program gives people —particularly youth—incredible opportunities to connect to our national parks through unique and innovative ways,” said Neil Mullhound, President and CEO of the NPF. “From experiences that center on history, the environment and even adventure, we are able to capture the imagination of a new generation of park-goers in ways that benefit their lives and the future of the parks.”