The US Forest Service has announced it will expand its Every Kid Outdoors program to offer fourth and fifth-grade students and their families fee-free access to more than 2,000 sites on national forests and grasslands for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year. The Forest Service hopes the announcement will encourage millions of families to use their free pass to visit public lands and experience the mental and physical benefits of the great outdoors. Chad Hudson, Acting Bridger-Teton Forest Supervisor points out that the opportunity to see, explore and experience public lands is one that every child should have.
The program focuses on children ages 9–11 who, research shows, are beginning to understand the world around them, and are uniquely receptive to engaging with nature and the environment. By focusing on this age group year after year, the program aims to ensure every child in the United States has the opportunity to create a life-long connection to America’s big backyard. Those wishing to obtain a free 5th Grade Voucher should visit the Every Kid Outdoors website, click on the “Hey, fifth graders!” banner, and download a voucher.