The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway (SACN) has invited all 4th grade students to come visit through an interactive school program called “Rivers Are Alive” as part of the White House’s new Every Kid in a Park program. The program highlights the underwater river habitat of the St Croix and Namekagon rivers in addition to building an understanding of the connections that people have with all living things at the rivers. For those of you unaware, the goal of the Every Kid In A Park program is to connect 4th graders with the great outdoors and inspire them to become future environmental stewards, ready to preserve and protect national parks and other public lands for years to come. The program is an important part of the National Park Service’s centennial celebration in 2016, which encourages everyone to Find Your Park. Every Kid in a Park is an administrative-wide effort, launched by President Obama, and supported by eight federal agencies: the National Park Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Department of Education, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.During the month of September, SACN Park Rangers visited with five elementary school groups along the St Croix and Namekagon Rivers. My involvement was with the fourth graders in Grantsburg, WI and in St. Croix Falls, WI. I would assist a Park Ranger with running the program, making sure the kids are safe during the program, and taking lots of photos and video. Since my position is focused on volunteering, the video footage and photos taken are to help establish volunteer training materials. The St Croix River Association (SCRA) co-manages a lot of our volunteer programs. The plan is to train in SCRA members, develop training materials, and expand on the current program. Hopefully SACN will see at least double the amount of Rivers Are Alive programs by next summer all being managed by volunteers.
A part of the Every Kid In A Park program, all fourth graders attending the Rivers Are Alive received a Jr Ranger booklet and a free park pass. For those who were not able to attend could receive their free pass by going on to the Every Kid in a Park website and playing a fun game. The pass grants the fourth grader and his/ her family free entry into any national park and other federal public lands and waters across the country from September 1st, 2015 through August 31, 2016. All fourth graders, educators, and parents are encouraged to check out the website because it includes fun and engaging learning activities aligned to educational standards, trip planning tools, safety and packing tips along with other important and helpful information.