The Forest Service will expand its Every Kid Outdoors program to offer fourth- and fifth-grade students and family members fee-free access to more than 2,000 sites on national forests and grasslands for the rest of the 2020-2021 school year. A new voucher is available for download now through Aug. 31, 2021.
With the voucher, students and their families can visit the Tonto National Forest and access day-use recreation areas free. The Forest Service hopes the announcement will encourage millions of families to use their free pass to visit the forest and experience the mental and physical benefits of the great outdoors. Voucher holders are also entitled to a free Christmas tree permit available through Recreation.gov. To learn more, visit https://www.recreation.gov/articles/location-spotlight/cut-a-tree-for-the-holidays-from-your-national-forests/120.
“We are excited to extend this opportunity to fifth-grade students,” said Acting Forest Supervisor Tom Torres, of the Tonto National Forest. “In these challenging times, we hope this initiative keeps children inspired to explore their national forests and all public lands.”
Every Kid Outdoors is a federal public lands partnership created to inspire fourth-grade students and their families across America to recreate, explore cultures, discover connections to nature and spark a lifelong passion for America’s great outdoors. 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 creates a lifelong connection to America’s big backyard.
To get a free voucher, visit the Every Kid Outdoors website, https://www.fs.usda.gov/learn/kids/everykid, click on the “Hey, fifth graders!” banner, and download a voucher.