June 2018
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Victory for 4th Graders

After considerable public pressure, the Department of the Interior has announced it will reauthorize the popular Every Kid in a Park program for another year. Every Kid in a Park encourages every fourth grader in the U.S. to visit their national parks and public lands. Since the program began, millions of fourth graders have downloaded their park pass voucher and visited a national park, many for the first time.

Photo Credit: Tami Heilemann, Department of the Interior, with thanks to National Park Trust and Blue Star Families

The program was in danger of being cancelled, but thanks to OAK members and supporters like you, rising fourth graders will have the chance to visit their parks. More than seventy OAK members and partners called on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to continue the program. Over 45,000 grassroots comments to Secretary Zinke were collected by OAK members such as the YMCA of the USA and Sierra Club. More than 1,000 children across the U.S. wrote postcards about the impact of the Every Kid in a Park program on them personally. OAK members Blue Star Families and National Park Trust delivered the postcards during a meeting with Secretary Zinke and 10 military kids & families.

Together, we helped Secretary Zinke understand the value of the Every Kid in a Park program and convinced him to extend it for one more year. Here's what some of our leaders had to say about this victory:

"Children's access to parks is essential to building the next generation of environmental stewards," said Barbara Tulipane, CAE, National Recreation and Park Association president and CEO. American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown stated, "Every Kid in a Park has opened the door to the natural beauty of the nation's parks for countless children, helping them stay physically active and healthy. We are pleased that the Department of the Interior will continue the admirable work of this wonderful public-private partnership."

"We are thrilled that [Every Kid in a Park] will be continued so that children and families can experience the natural places we cherish as a country," added Sarah Milligan-Toffler, Executive Director of Children & Nature Network.

Next up: Every Kid Outdoors Act

Now it's time to turn our attention to advancing the Every Kid Outdoors Act (S. 1522, H.R. 3186), a bill that would permanently preserve the program. The bipartisan and bicameral legislation was introduced in July 2017 by Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Representatives Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Scott Tipton (R-CO), Diana DeGette (D-CO), and Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.).

The legislation just received a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score of zero - meaning that because this is an existing program, it is not expected to induce any new federal funding and therefore does not have an impact on the budget. The bill has passed out of the House Committee on Natural Resources with unanimous, bipartisan approval. Now it's time for the Senate to act.

Urge Congress to pass the Every Kid Outdoors Act with one of these action alerts from Sierra Club and the YMCA of the USA!

Robbie Bond, 10-year-old founder of Kids Speak for Parks, released a video from Yosemite asking Secretary Zinke to extend Every Kid in a Park.

Prop. 68 Passes in California

The California Clean Water and Safe Parks Act, Proposition 68, passed with major support from California voters earlier this month. The measure authorizes funding for $4.1 billion in bonds to protect California's water and natural areas, ensuring all residents, especially those in low-income and under-served communities, have access to safe drinking water and safe parks. 

On the Calendar (Click Image to View)

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